Can You Sue a Workers’ Compensation Doctor for Malpractice in South Carolina?

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After you incur an injury at work, seeing a doctor should help your recovery. However, the insurer may choose a doctor who acts negligently and fails to provide the care you need. Can you sue workers’ comp for negligence? Can you sue workers’ comp doctors for malpractice? The answer to both is yes, and we can help.

At Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm, navigating workers’ comp and medical malpractice suits is often complicated. Our attorneys can help you understand how to handle the situation and when filing a suit is an option.

Can You Sue Workers’ Comp Physicians for Negligence?

You can hold your doctor responsible when you experience medical malpractice. This is because a physician needs to provide the necessary care. You may require several kinds of treatment:

  • Medical tests
  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery

Physicians must diagnose your condition correctly and provide the appropriate treatment. If they fail to do this, they may commit medical malpractice.

Some kinds of medical malpractice might be indisputable. For example, a doctor could leave a tool inside your body during surgery. However, misdiagnosis is also a form of medical malpractice if it results in improper treatment.

Can you sue workers’ comp for negligence when these events occur? It depends on the situation. Typically, you can only sue if the following factors are present:

  • Unfair denial of your claim
  • Failure to complete a proper investigation
  • Failure to investigate within an acceptable time frame
  • Withholding of payment for necessary treatments.

These factors might not exist in every case of medical malpractice. Your physician may be the only party acting negligently. Can you sue workers’ comp if the insurance company selected the doctor? The answer could be yes. Our attorneys can help determine if your situation involves these elements.

What Should You Do After a Workplace Accident and Medical Negligence?

There are several steps you should take after sustaining an injury at work. They will also help you when you’re asking, “Can I sue workers’ comp for negligence when a doctor commits malpractice?”

Contact medical professionals

You may need immediate medical attention after incurring your injury. Once you receive this care, you should speak to your employer. Ensure you have a written report of the situation to begin documenting this process.

File a claim

Your employer should file a workers’ compensation claim. However, companies may wait to do this. You may need to submit the necessary documentation yourself. Keep a copy of the claim for your records.

Begin treatment

Your company usually has doctors within your insurance company’s network. You have to see one of these providers as you receive treatment, even if you have your physician.

As you begin the recovery process, follow the advice and treatment regimen of the doctor. Make sure you have copies of test results, notes from your visits, and documentation about the treatment plan.

Seek alternative medical aid

If your employer’s physician fails to provide the care you need, you can work with a different doctor. You may need to submit paperwork formally asking for a new doctor. In some situations, you can ask for a hearing.

Can you sue workers’ comp physicians for negligence? When medical malpractice is why you need a new doctor, a lawsuit might be an option. Our attorneys can provide advice about your claim.

How Do You File a Third-Party Lawsuit?

Sometimes, a third party might also be liable for your injury, and we can help you file a third-party lawsuit if that is the case.

Equipment defects may have caused injuries if the machine did not operate correctly. In this situation, the manufacturer could be responsible if the company knew about the defect and failed to provide necessary repairs.

Additionally, your job duties may require you to drive a company vehicle. Another driver might cause a collision which inflicts your wounds. Depending on the situation, this person could be liable.

Can you sue workers’ comp for negligence as a third party? The answer is usually no. A third party must be someone without direct connection to the insurance company or your employer. The attorneys at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm can guide you through including a third party in a lawsuit.

What Is Case Law on Medical Malpractice in Workers’ Compensation?

It can be helpful to understand other medical malpractice lawsuits. Prior cases help establish precedents that your lawsuit might follow.

Whitfield v. Daniel Constr. Co., 226 S.C. 37 (1954)

This case involves a worker who sought medical treatment after incurring a scalp laceration. The physician provided pain medication and stitches. However, the medication caused the worker to experience mental impairment. As the worker operated his vehicle a few hours later, he collided with a guard rail after running the car off the highway. This resulted in a fatal collision.

Hardee v. Bruce Johnson Trucking Co., 293 S.C. 349 (Ct. App. 1987)

In this case, a worker received a back injury. The surgeon failed to provide responsible care during the surgery, leading to complications. In this situation, the physician was a third party but was still liable because a work injury made the procedure necessary.

What Should You Know About Medical Malpractice in Workers’ Compensation?

There are a few things you need to consider before beginning a case. One is the extent of a lawsuit. Because your employer chose the doctor, you might want to sue the company. However, only physicians are liable for medical malpractice, not your employer.

Additionally, you have to demonstrate the doctor’s negligence. Did the doctor owe you appropriate care? Did the physician’s actions cause your condition to worsen? Our attorneys can help establish the connections between the treatment you received and the negative outcome.

You also have to file a claim within three years. This timespan begins on the day you initially received treatment. After three years, a claim might lack validity.

How Can You Work With a Lawyer Who Handles Workers’ Comp and Medical Malpractice Cases

The attorneys at Dan Pruitt Injury Law Firm can help you and your family navigate your workers’ comp or medical malpractice case so you can focus on your recovery from a work injury. Call us to set up a free consultation so we can begin to review your claim.

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