Under the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law, an injured worker cannot benefit from unreasonable refusing a mode of medical treatment. This does not mean that if a doctor recommends a certain course of treatment, that an injured worker must go forward with that specific treatment.
However, the appellate division case of Wilkins v. NY Power Authority decided in March 2011, found that a schedule loss of use award was inappropriate where all of the physicians unanimously recommended that the claimant complete a course of physical therapy which he refused to do.
On the other hand, there are many circumstances where invasive procedures are recommended. In those circumstances, the claimant is not required to undergo surgery simply because a doctor has recommended it. However, when all doctors agree that conservative care such as physical therapy is needed before the claimant will reached maximum improvement, the treatment should be completed.