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Disputing Your Employer's Physician When Trying to Obtain Benefits

medical benefitsMany injured workers who seek medical benefits through the South Carolina workers’ compensation program are surprised to learn that their employer chooses the doctor who will treat them. In fact, the doctor you see – usually one among several offered by your employer’s workers’ comp insurer – has significant influence over the benefits you’ll receive and how long they may continue.

Doctors are professionals who should treat every patient appropriately, regardless of the monetary consequences. But there is an increasing concern in some quarters that doctors who essentially work for workers’ compensation insurers will at least lean toward saving the insurer money. They may be pressured to make decisions about an employee’s health and recovery that unfairly limit medical benefit payments and work absences.

There are steps you can take if you disagree with your employer-assigned doctor. The attorneys at Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., in Manning can help you with this and other aspects of a workers’ compensation claim. Our attorneys have more than 120 years of combined experience handling workers’ comp claims in South Carolina.

Contact us now for a free claim review.

The Problem of Seeing Your ‘Employer’s Physician’

The doctor who treats a worker’s injury or illness as part of a workers’ compensation claim makes many important decisions that ultimately cost the insurance company and employer money. These include:

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Whether the injury or illness is work-related, making it qualify for workers’ compensation coverage.

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Medical treatment for the worker, which should be paid 100 percent by workers’ comp.

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The employee’s absence from or readiness to return to work.

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The disability or impairment rating, which determines ongoing benefit payments.

A worker who applies for workers’ compensation benefits must see the doctor chosen by the employer and follow his or her treatment recommendations. Failure to do so could jeopardize the employee’s continued eligibility for benefits.

You Can Question Your Assigned Doctor’s Orders

doctors ordersIt is easy to see how an injured worker with a workers’ comp claim might question the recommendations of a doctor who they perceive as more interested in the needs of the employer instead of the patient. Ill or injured workers might feel their medical condition is not being taken seriously or treated correctly if the physician’s recommendations are contrary to what the patient thinks is right.

The workers’ compensation rules that require the claimant to be treated by a specific doctor do not bar the claimant from getting a second or third opinion. The workers’ comp system also has mechanisms for appealing decisions, including directives by a doctor to return to work or for a disability rating.

The lawyers of Land, Parker & Welch can help you obtain permission from the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission to see a doctor to provide a second opinion about your occupational injury or illness. If you do not have a doctor of your own you can rely on, we can help you find a doctor. We know doctors who understand the South Carolina workers’ compensation system and what judges look for when considering conflicting medical opinions. We can also help you prepare and file a request for a hearing before the SC Workers’ Compensation Commission and represent you in the hearing.

The employer or insurer-assigned physician will receive the benefit of any doubt in a workers’ compensation claim hearing, but it is not a done deal. An improper directive can be overturned with evidence from another doctor or doctors in a well-prepared case. Continued medical benefits that are worth a significant amount of money to you could depend on the results of a hearing. It’s best to make sure a qualified attorney has helped you present the strongest case possible.

Contact Our South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Now

If you have reason to dispute the directions of your employer-chosen physician in a workers’ comp claim, the Manning workers’ comp lawyers of Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., can help you make a case for change.

We’ll work to ensure you get the medical benefits you deserve. Call our Manning office now or use our online contact form to set up a no-cost initial consultation.