You should begin seeing a doctor as soon as possible after you have been injured on the job. How long you have to see a doctor after a work injury depends on how bad your injury is. Your workers’ compensation typically ends when a doctor releases you to return to work, so you may have to be monitored by a doctor for the duration of the time that you are injured to collect benefits.
If your injury is straightforward or less serious, you may be able to return to work and stop seeing the doctor sooner than if your injury is severe or leads to complications.
Keep reading to learn more about the connection between seeing a doctor and getting workers’ compensation.
Getting Medical Help
If you were injured in a work-related accident, tell your employer right away. A delay of even a day could hurt you. Also, get the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the event, and note whether there are any video cameras in the area. A compensable injury may include any physical injury incurred while you were performing your job duties. They may include:
- Concussions and other head injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Neck and back injuries
- Injuries to extremities (arms and legs)
- Crush injuries
- And more
South Carolina Workers’ Compensation § 42-1 explains that many employers in South Carolina are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
If your claim is approved, you may be entitled to medical treatment and a portion of your previous wages. You may have a say in the choice of doctor, depending on what path you decide to take. If you go for a personal injury claim, you can use your own doctor. However, according to the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission, you may be required to see a doctor selected by your employers’ insurer. You may also be able to seek reimbursement for travel expenses related to seeing that doctor.
For a free legal consultation, call 864-740-8653
Going Back to Work
You may have to see your doctor and receive any necessary medical treatment after a work injury for as long as your doctor deems necessary. When your doctor decides your injury has healed enough for you to return to work, they may do so in one of two ways.
First, your doctor may approve you for light duty. This means you can go back to work, but you may be assigned tasks that are simpler or less strenuous than your usual duties. If light duty pays less than your regular salary, you may be entitled to a weekly check for around 66% of the difference between your new wage and your pre-injury wage. If you refuse to perform light duty, you may lose your workers’ compensation benefits.
Second, your doctor may decide you are completely healed and that you can resume your old job. This may also result in the termination of your benefits.
Doctors can and do make mistakes. Even if your doctor says that you are fit to work, you might still be experiencing symptoms. Returning to work too soon can make your injuries worse or cause new damage.
If you disagree with your doctor’s decision that you are able to safely return to work, you may have options to appeal your medical release and request that your workers’ compensation benefits be restored. It may be necessary to obtain an Independent Medical Evaluation if you feel the employer’s doctor’s release to work is premature. We can help you with that.
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Your Workers’ Compensation Lawyer May Be Able to Help You
If you would like legal assistance with a workers’ compensation claim or appeal, a lawyer may be able to help. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will explain the laws and regulations as they apply specifically to your case. They may also:
- Explain your options: a lawyer can examine the specifics of your injuries and your insurance policy and come up with a plan that is tailored to your needs.
- Negotiate: in the event of a disagreement, your case may go to mediation or straight to a hearing. Either way, a lawyer can represent you through these processes.
- Review agreements: a lawyer can review a settlement offer and may be able to negotiate if it does not compensate you fairly.
- Handle legal work: a lawyer may be able to manage deadlines, paperwork, and communications on your behalf.
- Support you: a lawyer can answer your questions, help you understand your options, and give you legal advice at all stages of your case.
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Call Hammack Law Firm Today
If you seek support with your workers’ compensation claim, Hammack Law Firm may be able to help you. We offer free case evaluations to prospective clients in and around Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, Pickens, and Seneca.
The team is standing by to discuss your case and your options. Contact us at 864-326-3333 so that we can get started. Hammack Law Firm offers representation on a contingency-fee-basis and we do not collect up-front payments from our clients.