If you were hurt on the job in South Carolina, you may be entitled to file a claim with your employer for workers’ compensation benefits. In South Carolina, workers’ compensation covers the cost of all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for your work-related injury. Does necessary medical treatment include physical therapy? Doctors often prescribe rehabilitation services for orthopedic injuries or head injuries after an accident. Your treating physician may order that you receive physical therapy for your work-related injury.
Contact a South Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer at Joye Law Firm to discuss your eligibility for physical therapy after a work-related injury. Let our knowledgeable lawyers pursue the full benefits you deserve from the workers’ comp system. We will fight for your rights and interests if your employer or its workers’ compensation administrator denies you the medical benefits you need to recover from a workplace accident. Call Joye for a free consultation regarding your workers’ compensation issue in South Carolina.
Will Workers’ Compensation Insurance Cover the Cost of My Physical Therapy?
Many workers’ compensation doctors prescribe physical therapy as part of an injured employee’s treatment regimen. Workers’ compensation insurance typically covers the cost of physical therapy. You may need to meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify for workers’ comp benefits for physical therapy. These requirements include:
- Working for a covered employer: South Carolina requires businesses with four or more employees (including part-time employees) to have workers’ compensation insurance. State law exempts certain industries from workers’ comp insurance requirements, including agricultural employers, state and county fair associations, and railroad companies.
- Physician’s referral: Your workers’ compensation physician must refer you for physical therapy before your employer’s workers’ comp insurer will cover the cost of rehab. Under the South Carolina workers’ compensation system, your employer or its insurer can choose the physician who treats your workplace injuries.
- Limits on benefits: You may have difficulty securing coverage for physical therapy after your treating physician releases you to return to work. If you have suffered permanent impairment due to your work injury, you may seek a settlement with your employer that provides up to 12 months of additional medical treatment if your work injury-related condition worsens.
What Type of Therapy Is Covered Under Workers’ Comp in South Carolina?
South Carolina workers’ compensation benefits may cover multiple types of therapy your physician deems necessary to treat your condition. You may need rehabilitation to regain strength or range of motion or to recover from surgery related to a work injury. After serious injuries, you made need therapy to relearn certain basic skills, such as how to walk. Here are some examples of the types of therapy that workers’ comp covers:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy, which teaches you how to perform tasks at work or home and use assistive devices
- Vocational rehab, which trains you to perform new jobs given your physical limitations
- Speech therapy to help you with speech or language issues you experience due to a work-related brain injury
- Under certain circumstances, psychological or psychiatric therapy may be covered to help you address work-related mental trauma or injury
Reasons Why Your Workers’ Comp Might Deny Physical Therapy
Employers and their workers’ compensation insurers want to deny or minimize payouts to save money. Consequently, they might try to dispute your valid claim by arguing:
- Your injury does not qualify as work-related.
- You filed an untimely workers’ comp claim. In South Carolina, you must notify your employer of a work injury within 90 days of the accident. If you need to file a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, you must file within two years of the date of your workplace injury.
- Your treating physician has not authorized or referred you for physical therapy.
- The insurer has deemed the proposed course of therapy unreasonable or unnecessary, given the nature of your work injury.
- Your doctor has released you from care after determining you had reached maximum medical improvement.
- You settled your workers’ compensation claim, and your settlement does not provide medical benefits.
How Can Physical Therapy Help You Recover from a Work-Related Injury?
Your physician may refer you to physical therapy services to help you recover from your work injury. Therapy can help treat injuries such as fractures, strained or torn soft tissues, repetitive stress injuries, and spinal injuries. Rehab can offer several benefits to your recovery from a work-related injury, including:
- Reducing pain – Physical therapy can facilitate the healing of a work injury and reduce the pain you experience from your injury.
- Increasing mobility – Work injuries may reduce your range of motion or mobility. Limited mobility from injuries might prevent you from performing your work duties or other everyday tasks. Physical therapy can help you restore mobility to resume work.
- Regaining strength – Physical therapy can improve your strength and mobility and strengthen injured areas before you return to work to help reduce the risk of aggravating your injuries.
- Relearning work tasks or learning new adaptations – Occupational therapy (OT) can help you relearn how to perform physical tasks for work or daily activities. If you have suffered permanent limitations, OT can teach you adaptations or how to use assistive tools to perform those tasks.
Physical therapy often works in conjunction with other treatments, such as surgery or pain management care.
Call Our S.C. Workers’ Comp Attorneys Today
Were you hurt in a workplace accident while a full-time or part-time employee in South Carolina? You might be entitled to benefits through your employer’s workers’ comp insurance. If your employer is disputing your right to benefits, let Joye Law Firm help.
Since 1968, our law firm has stood up for hard-working people in South Carolina who sustained injuries on the job. We have offices across South Carolina, including North Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Columbia, Clinton, and Summerville, to provide convenient access to clients throughout the state.
Call us at 888-324-3100 or contact us online today for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about your workers’ compensation benefits in South Carolina.