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Can I see My Doctor While on Workers’ Compensation in South Carolina?

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There are several reasons why most of us have an established doctor that knows our families and us. It is familiar, there is likely a history that the physician is aware of or has been treating, and they know you.

If a new medicine is prescribed, they will know how it might interact with any existing medications or how other health issues are all relative to your overall health. If a trustworthy relationship is built with them, it may make the most sense to want to see them regarding the injury you endured at work.

Though this makes sense, it may not be wise for you. In this article, we will discuss why.

Why is it a Problem to See my Own Doctor on a Workers’ Comp Claim?

In some states, there is no issue with seeing your own doctor regarding workers’ comp claims. This means that regardless of the doctor you see, the bills can be forwarded to the workers’ comp claim and, in most cases, approved.

Problems arise when choosing your own doctor, however, in South Carolina. The reason for this is that the state requires employees to see the approved doctors of the employer. Employers will have approved doctors who handle workers’ comp claims and have a relationship with them. This eases the billing process for them and also provides the employer and the workers’ comp insurance a trusted partner in diagnosing and treating injuries that occur while on the job.

Should you choose to see your regular doctor and they aren’t an approved provider by your employer, your bills from those visits may not be covered. Although sometimes we can get them paid later, there is a risk that you could be responsible for paying for them out of pocket or through your insurance.

What Are My Options For Doctors?

You must speak with your employer immediately following your injury to report the incident. You can also request a list of the approved doctors you can see for your care. There may be a specific list of doctors or a specific facility in the area that is an approved resource. If there is an approved facility, in most cases, you are free to see any doctor in that facility. It is essential to clarify this to avoid paying for your care out of your pocket.

What if I Need to See My Own Doctor?

There may be instances where it just won’t work to see a doctor you don’t know. Maybe you have existing conditions that you are worried will be taken into appropriate consideration when diagnosed or treated for the injury you sustained at work. 

In this case, you may want to seek the help of an experienced lawyer. They can assist you in determining what your options are and guide you to the next steps based on the laws and information provided by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission

It is also essential to check in with your employer before engaging in additional treatment. Suppose you have an injury that required initial treatment, which you concluded, but the pain has resurfaced. It is essential to let your employer know immediately and request approval for further treatment to avoid having these additional costs denied by your workers’ comp plan. 

It is important to note that your health insurance may deny covering additional expenses if the cause of the initial injury was a work-related injury. This can mean that neither your insurance nor your workers’ comp plan will cover the medical costs, forcing you to pay them out of pocket.

How Can I Ensure I’m Getting Adequate Treatment?

It is vital to be your own advocate while seeing a doctor that your employer or the workers’ comp plan has approved. It is in their best interest to keep costs down; therefore, in some cases, they may not be as thorough as your primary doctor.

Take notes, ask questions, and document everything. Ensure you are thorough with your complaints so the doctor can be aware and treat the entire injury.

You typically have access to your medical records at your request. This can allow you to review the information included and ensure nothing was overlooked that could lead to issues in the future. For example, if you discussed a complaint during your visit and it was left out of the medical record, they may not have treated that specific complaint. It is crucial to have all complaints or injuries documented and treated starting with the first visit.

It is also important to continue with each appointment the doctor has scheduled and comply with all treatment or medicinal instructions. This can help to alleviate any bills being denied based on your needing to comply with medical advice.

You Have Rights as an Injured Worker

You have several rights as an injured worker. Ensure you know them and are not subjected to harassment or mistreatment after your injury. For example, you have a right to refuse coercion attempts on behalf of your employer to keep quiet about your injury to avoid a workers’ comp claim. You also have a right to prevent harassment or mistreatment from your employer based on filing a workers’ comp claim.

We are prepared to assist you if you are experiencing issues with your workers’ comp claim. We have years of extensive experience working with clients in South Carolina, and we are ready to assist you. Contact our office at (803) 000-0000 to get your questions answered.

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