If you are injured on the job in the Carolinas, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation for your medical expenses, a portion of your lost wages, and disability benefits. Although the workers’ compensation laws in South Carolina and North Carolina are different, they do share one thing in common — injured workers must see a doctor before any claim can be approved.
The doctor’s opinion carries a lot of weight as the insurance company considers whether to approve your workers’ compensation claim. This can create an understandable worry among employees about whether the physician is working in their best interests. Here’s what you need to know.
Whose Side is the Workers’ Comp Doctor On?
The workers’ compensation doctor is working for the insurance company, not for you. But doctors, even those who work for insurance companies, are sworn to practice medicine with integrity, compassion, and concern for the health of their patients. The assumption is that these providers will put your wellbeing over any profits they make from the insurer.
However, it often happens that injured workers do not agree with the workers’ compensation doctor’s findings. You have limited options if you’re unhappy with an opinion, so it’s advisable to speak with an attorney before taking steps on your own.
Can I Hire My Own Doctor for My Workers’ Comp Injury?
In North Carolina, you can only hire your own doctor in rare circumstances. The law is complicated. In general, you will need to pick your doctor from your employer’s list of approved providers. However, you are allowed to seek a second opinion and ask to change doctors. But unless permission is received in writing from your employer, their insurance carrier’s representative, or the N.C. Industrial Commission, payment for your treatment is not guaranteed. Permission will depend on showing “by a preponderance of the evidence” why a change is warranted. An experienced N.C. workers’ comp attorney can step in to help you collect this evidence.
In South Carolina, you can’t choose your doctor after a workplace accident and get medical coverage. In other words, going outside of your employer’s approved network of providers will mean that you will have to pay for the costs out of pocket. These situations can be incredibly stressful, especially if you’re contending with other health problems like pre-existing conditions. Consulting with a S.C. workers’ compensation lawyer can be helpful to figure out your next steps.
What Stewart Law Offices Can Do for Me
If you’re unhappy with the doctor’s decision about your work injury, you need the advice of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer immediately. Get in touch with the South Carolina and North Carolina attorneys at Stewart Law Offices right away.
Our law firm understands that the stakes are high if an injury or illness puts you out of work. We will represent you aggressively in talks with the insurance company and develop a compelling argument for why you deserve full workers’ compensation benefits. Our attorneys are also accomplished trial lawyers and can represent you in appeals before the S.C. Workers’ Compensation Commission and the N.C. Industrial Commission if necessary.
You can count on Stewart Law Offices to use all of our resources to fight for your rights. Call or contact us today for a free consultation.