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SC Workers' Compensation: Can I Choose My Doctor?

For most patients, choosing a doctor is very personal. Much like selecting a dentist, a surgeon, a personal trainer, a hairstylist, a daycare provider or real estate agent, people tend to be highly selective when it comes to choosing healthcare providers and specialists.

If you are planning on filing a workers’ compensation claim in South Carolina and are now wondering, “Can I choose my own doctor?” you are asking a common question that we hear a lot from our clients.

Under our current law, employers have the right to select which doctors are to treat their injured workers. “Does that mean I can’t see my own doctor at all?” If you decide to see your own doctor without first obtaining permission from your employer, your employer is under no legal obligation to pay for the medical expense. There is one exception: if you were in an emergency, your employer can be held liable.

When You See Your Own Doctor

If you truly trust your own doctor and want to see him or her, or if there is a specific doctor who you wish to see because they have great references or a good reputation in their field, you have every right to see the doctor of your choice, but you will be responsible for the bill. Meaning, your employer will not cover the visit or any medical care you receive from that doctor.

Once an employee is injured on-the-job, it can be confusing. They may not know if they should head to the emergency room, see their own doctor, or report their injury and wait for their employer to refer an approved doctor. Here’s what you should do if you are injured on the job:

  1. Report the injury to your supervisor immediately;
  2. Request that your employer will be responsible for your medical treatment; and
  3. Do not attempt to hire your case alone. Instead, call an attorney right away.

“Report all injuries at work to your employer immediately and request medical treatment, if needed. If you neglect to report the injury within 90 days of the accident you may lose your benefits. Although you must report the injury within 90 days, you have up to two years to file a claim for benefits. If a worker dies because of work-related injuries, the workers' dependents, or parents if there are no dependents, must file a claim within two years of the death to claim benefits,” says the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.

To file a workers’ compensation claim in Columbia, SC, contact Masella Law Firm, P.A.