Question: Do I have to use the workers comp insurance doctor?
This is a question that we often hear from individuals who are dissatisfied with the medical care they been receiving from their employer’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier. For individuals who choose to go through this legal process by themselves the answer is most likely yes….you are stuck with their doctor. To those who seek the proper legal representation the answer and the outcome can be quite different.
The South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Act provides that individuals who are injured while working on the job are entitled to medical benefits. These benefits need to be provided at no expense to the injured worker. At first blush, the Workers Compensation Act provides that those individuals seeking medical treatment must receive treatment initially from a doctor provided by the employer and their worker’s compensation insurance carrier. That medical treatment must continue until it lessens the period of disability or the insurance doctor has placed you at maximum medical improvement (“MMI”). Similar to how your car’s damage is devalued instantly in an automobile accident by the insurance carrier, some injured workers find the insurance carrier’s physician devalue their injuries as well. This process often leads to months of frustration treating with a physician who will not listen to their needs or hastily rushes them out the door to end treatment.
If you have the proper legal representation, however, the process may be very different. Prior to my representation of injured workers, I worked as counsel for 14 years representing workers compensation insurance carriers. I have worked with some excellent carriers and physicians and unfortunately have seen firsthand some of the struggles injured workers face when paired with some carriers and physicians who do not care. My unique perspective allows me to know which physicians to steer away from and how to utilize the insurance industry standards and protocols for changing medical providers. We work, using the law, to obtain second opinions provided by the carriers or through our own means to allow our clients to get the best medical treatment that they need. Let me see if I can provide you that same medical treatment. For free consultation on your workers compensation claim, call me at 803-350-9230.
Answered by Christian E. Boesl, Manager of the Workers’ Compensation Department