A Workers’ Comp Doctor’s Responsibility is to the Patient
In South Carolina and throughout the country, doctors take an oath to keep patients from harm. A doctor’s primary responsibility is to the health, safety, and well-being of the patient. That duty applies equally to workers’ compensation patients. Even though a workers’ comp insurance company is paying the bill, and even though a substantial portion of the doctors’ practice might come from treating a specific company’s employees (i.e. a significant portion of their income comes from the insurance company), a doctor must never lose sight that his obligation is to the patient.
I have deposed doctors in workers’ comp cases before who have been determined to kill claims. It did not matter that my clients were nice, honest, hardworking people who had really injured themselves. I don’t know their motivations or whether they truly believed what they were saying under oath, but I do know that their answers often defy logic and reason. It is, of course, nice for doctors to be “on our side,” but I certainly did not want him to be on the “employer’s side.” I simply would like those doctors to honor their oath and uphold their duty to their patients. I want them to be on the side of medicine. I want them to tell the truth. In my opinion, doctors should be advocates for their patients and should not care how that matters in terms of a workers’ comp claim.
Insurance companies are allowed to pick an injured worker’s doctor, in part because the insurance company is paying the bill. This allowance should not matter, as all doctors should rely on training, medical research, and facts to treat patients. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case. While some doctors are “patient-friendly,” many appear to favor the corporations that pay them.
Share Your Concerns With Your Workers’ Compensation Doctor
If you want to know whose side your doctor is on, share with him your concern. Let him know that you never wanted to get hurt at work, that all you want to do is get well, and that if you could, you would have your own health insurance company pay for treatment rather than be at the mercy of workers’ comp.
Likewise, if you have questions about the doctor’s reputation with regard to treating workers’ compensation patients fairly, I will never be derogatory, but I will share with you my experiences. I have handled numerous workers’ comp claims with a variety of injuries and usually know where a treating physician stands. Nevertheless, it is my job to make sure that my client’s rights are upheld and they are vindicated in receiving the treatment they need and the compensation they deserve. You can contact me by calling our injury firm at (843) 800-8663, by using the live chat feature, or by filling out this contact form.