Second opinion

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A second opinion is an opinion on a matter disputed by two or more parties.


In legal cases, a second opinion which contradicts the opinion of a jointly retained expert may be disregarded as not being impartial.[1]

Consumer rights[edit]

In cases such as car repairs, a second opinion should be obtained in writing, and the original garage given an opportunity to rectify matters.[2] In the case of clients' disputes with domestic building contractors, the builder may seek a second opinion to confirm their view.[3]


A second opinion can be a visit to a physician other than the one a patient has previously been seeing in order to get more information or to hear a differing point of view.[4][5] Some reasons for which a patient may seek out a second opinion include:

  • Physician recommends surgery.
  • Physician diagnoses patient with serious illness (such as cancer).[6]
  • Physician recommends a treatment for the patient other than what the patient believes is necessary.
  • When physician recommends elective surgery, it may be required by the insurance plan. In other cases, insurance will not pay for a second opinion.[7]
  • Patient believes they have a condition that the physician diagnosed incorrectly or failed to diagnose.[6]
  • The physician themself recommends a second opinion.[6][8]

Different payment procedures apply to different second opinions. For example, some health plans pay for second opinions for members; many employers offer free second opinion benefits through companies like Grand Rounds or similar companies; and some states have public programs for cancer second opinions.[9]

Cancer second opinions - United Kingdom[edit]

Getting a second opinion about cancer treatment or diagnosis is relatively straightforward. The patient can ask their cancer specialist to refer them to another specialist or they can ask their General Practitioner (GP) to refer them or they can seek out a private second opinion.[10]

Workplace disputes[edit]

Second opinions may also be obtained by employers.[11]

Professional mediation[edit]

Professional mediators may be asked for second opinions regarding whether to proceed to trial or seek a settlement instead.[12]


  1. ^ Nancy F. Atlas; Stephen K. Huber; E. Wendy Trachte-Huber (2000). Alternative Dispute Resolution: The Litigator's Handbook. American Bar Association. p. 262. ISBN 978-1-57073-812-8.
  2. ^ "Problems with the quality of garage repairs or service". Citizens Advice Bureau. CAB website. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Handling customer complaints". QBCC website. Queensland Building and Construction Commission. 2014-05-02. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  4. ^ Kyle Beardsley (18 August 2011). The Mediation Dilemma. Cornell University Press. pp. 37. ISBN 978-0-8014-5003-7.
  5. ^ British Medical Association (31 January 2012). Medical Ethics Today: The BMA's Handbook of Ethics and Law. John Wiley & Sons. p. 253. ISBN 978-1-4443-5564-2.
  6. ^ a b c "New National Survey Shows Almost a Third of Second Medical Opinions Result... -- re> ROCHESTER, N.Y., March 17 /PRNewswire/ --". Archived from the original on 2013-12-24.
  7. ^ "Apply for a Scholarship | Patient Advocate Foundation".
  8. ^ Chiosea, SI; Peel, R; Barnes, EL; Seethala, RR (April 2009). "Salivary type tumors seen in consultation". Virchows Archiv. 454 (4): 457–66. doi:10.1007/s00428-009-0742-x. PMID 19271235. S2CID 28378251.
  9. ^ "A second opinion could save your life". Los Angeles Times. 24 May 2015.
  10. ^ "Do You Need a Second Opinion? - Leaders in Oncology Care".
  11. ^ Lisa Granger (2010). Best Practices in Occupational Health, Safety, Workers Compensation and Claims Management for Employers: Assisting Employers in Navigating "The Road to Zero". Universal-Publishers. p. 159. ISBN 978-1-59942-812-3.
  12. ^ Victoria Pynchon (10 April 2012). Success as a Mediator For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 89–90. ISBN 978-1-118-07862-4.