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Can I Refuse Medical Treatment? – St. Louis Workers Comp Attorney


There are numerous reasons why an injured worker may want to refuse recommended medical treatment or surgery.

St. Louis man refusing treatment

Everyone has a right to refuse a recommended treatment or surgery. The reasons to refuse treatment could be many, such as phobias, allergies, and apprehensions about taking risks. Whatever the reason is, many injured workers who claim workers compensation for their work-related injuries, wonder if they can refuse surgery or medical treatment by their treating doctor and if it will affect their workers’ compensation benefits claim.

Why do patients refuse medical treatment?

There are numerous reasons why injured workers tend to or want to refuse recommended medical treatment or surgery. The most common reason is associated with risks of surgery. Many workers are unwilling to undergo surgery and associated risks of complications. Ideally, every individual has the right to know the risks associated with any surgery, they have to acknowledge on hospital forms that they are well informed about these risks and give their consent for surgery. Therefore every individual has the right to refuse medical treatment.

Apart from associated risks of surgery, many injured workers have other concerns such as phobias, allergies, and reactions to certain types of medication.

Many also worry about the long duration of medical treatment and rehabilitation.

What if one has concerns about a treatment plan?

It is best to have a clear discussion with one’s treating doctor and discuss the surgery in detail, understand associated risks, be aware of the outcome if one takes, or refuses a medical treatment or surgery. Injured workers and their family members should, along with the doctor have a clear plan. They should clear all doubts and gather all the related (and seemingly unrelated) information about the surgery.

If they have any concerns, they should openly discuss them with the doctor and only then make an informed decision.

Will refusal affect a workers’ compensation benefits claim?

Some workers’ compensation insurance companies insist on getting treatment or surgery from a specified doctor or hospital. They also can specify which surgery should be carried out for what type of injury.

Some insurance companies can refuse to pay out benefits to injured workers if they refuse medical treatment or surgery recommended by their treating medical practitioners. They can claim that the patient availing workers compensation benefits is refusing to cooperate with prescribed medical treatment. Most insurance companies will have a way of trying to refuse to pay a workers compensation claim to a worker who refuses to proceed with the prescribed medical treatment.

Seeking legal help

Thankfully, one can take measures to ensure that their rights are protected. For example, they can, along with the help of a St. Louis workers compensation attorney, get a second opinion from another doctor to check the viability of the procedure prescribed, if needed. The details of what can be done differ from case to case.

It is best to seek legal assistance from a qualified and experienced St. Louis workers compensation lawyer to discuss your concerns. Call the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann at (314) 361-4300 today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Updated: May 13, 2020
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