When people get hurt on the job and file a claim for workers’ compensation, one of the questions they often have is whether they can see their own personal doctors to get treatment for their injuries.

In short, you can always see your own doctor, but you will likely have to pay the doctor’s bills yourself.

The most important part of any workers’ compensation claim is your medical care. Under South Carolina law, the workers’ compensation insurance company is in control of your treatment related to your workplace injury or illness.

The insurance company is paying the medical bills, meaning it is able to choose your doctors, your physical therapists and the facilities you get medical treatment from during the course of your claim.

This doesn’t mean you can’t see your personal doctor, but it does mean that you need to be prepared for the real possibility you might get stuck with those medical bills. Your personal health insurance carrier may refuse to provide coverage for treatment of an on-the-job injury. This should be the responsibility of the workers’ compensation insurance company.

It’s important to have the expertise of a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer on your side when making a claim for an on-the-job injury.

One of the benefits of hiring a South Carolina workers’ compensation attorney is that the attorney will have the ability to send you for an independent medical evaluation with a specialist of his or her choosing – a local doctor the attorney knows and trusts and who has experience in dealing with injuries just like yours.

By sending you to this doctor, your attorney is looking for an independent, fair assessment of your future medical treatment, your impairment ratings and the true scope of your injuries. It’s very important to have another set of eyes look at you –another set of eyes that’s not being paid by the workers’ compensation insurance company.

If you have been injured while on the job, contact a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible to help you make the best case possible and maximize your compensation.

About the Author

Ken Harrell joined Joye Law Firm in 1994, and has been the managing partner since 2006. With 30 years of experience, he protects the rights of injured South Carolinians, including cases involving workers’ compensation, car accidents, and defective products. Ken also leads the firm’s referral practice, helping to ensure that our clients receive the best possible representation. He is a past president of South Carolina Injured Workers’ Advocates, and has served as the co-chairman of this organization’s legislative affairs committee for 12 years.

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