Steps You Need to Take After a Work-Related Incident
After you’ve been hurt at work, there are steps you must take to receive workers’ compensation. One of the biggest is being seen by a medical professional. It is important that you receive the medical care you need. However, it is not just a matter of going to a medical facility or seeing your doctor and then asking for workers’ comp. You need to follow certain rules. Let’s look at the proper protocol to ensure you will receive the maximum benefits.
Obtain Prompt Treatment
You need to be seen as soon as possible after a work-related injury or illness at the workplace. The reason for this is two-fold:
- Being treated quickly will give you an edge when it comes to feeling better. Waiting too long can mean that your injury will progress.
- Being treated quickly will make it harder for the insurance carrier or your employer to say the injury/illness was not work-related.
Trying to ignore the pain/symptoms you feel will come back to haunt you in the long run. It can also limit the benefits you might receive.
Who Chooses the Doctor or Medical Facility I Visit in South Carolina?
You might think that when you are injured at work or fall ill, you have the right to see your own physician under South Carolina workers’ compensation rules. It’s reasonable you would rather do this since you feel comfortable with them and have a history of trust. But, that is not the way it works under workers’ comp.
In South Carolina, workers’ compensation restricts what medical provider you see. In fact, the employer or the insurance company that pays the benefits has the right to choose. That means the visit will be covered under workers’ comp benefits. However, if emergency treatment is needed, the worker has the right to seek care and still have the expense of that visit covered. Make sure that you let the E.R. doctor knows this is a work-related injury. As a part of your medical record, this will make it easier to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
Once it is time to be treated for your work-related injury, the employer and the insurer will have a list of providers from which you can choose. In the event you want to switch from one provider to another, it is possible to contact your employer and do so. Some employers may try to deny you this right. If they do, you can request a hearing with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.
If the hearing ends in your favor, the commission will contact your employer and demand the switch occur. Note: if you must travel more than 10 miles from your residence round-trip to see the provider suggested by your employer, you have the right to be paid a per-mile rate for travel to their office and back.
What Is a Treating Doctor’s Role?
Even though you may be treated by several doctors, one will be labeled your treating physician. He/She will:
- Give you referrals to specialists.
- Order work restrictions if you can return to work
- Choose when you can return to work on light or restricted duty
- Choose when you reach maximum improvement
- Allow a leave from work
- Determine when you have permanent impairments
Morris Law Firm
The Morris Law Firm will fight for your rights from start to finish. We can be reached at (843) 232-0944 in the Myrtle Beach area or contacted online. We will work to obtain the maximum benefits you can receive and ensure that you are being treated fairly. Come and see us at a free case review, and let us help you.