Call us before you choose a doctor! I probably write this same blog twice a year after I get an unbelievably absurd or obtuse opinion from a doctor. Bad medical treatment or an uncooperative physician can make a compensable claim much more expensive in terms of cost of treatment, time out of work, and exposure for permanent disability—for both admitted and denied cases.
You as the employer have the ability to control and direct medical treatment in an admitted case, so please use that right proactively to choose the right physicians. The right physician should have, as one of their objectives, returning the claimant to work. The right physician should know something about the requirements of the job the claimant got hurt doing and the job she will return to when (not if) she is released to return to work. The wrong physician will be indifferent to these things, if you are lucky, and hostile to them if you are not. So if you want to know the good physicians from those on the no-fly list, please call us and we will give you the benefit of our extensive knowledge in this area.
You don’t have the right to directly control medical treatment in a denied case, but you certainly have the right to get an IME, and we can communicate with that physician before the physician actually sees and lays hands on the claimant. It is therefore extremely important that we choose physicians who understands South Carolina Workers’ Compensation law well enough to know the basics of our medical causation requirements and to care enough about our cases to give us a thorough and honest opinion that they can support in a deposition if need be.
I took the deposition of an orthopedic surgeon two nights ago in a denied shoulder claim. This physician had been picked as an IME by the claimant’s attorney, and I decided to depose him after he wrote some causality statements, which I felt needed to be challenged. At the deposition, the doctor went to great lengths to cherry pick some medical facts and ignore others. It was so bad that the claimant’s lawyer told me after the deposition that I should have told the doctor that he was “full of *hit.” It really was that bad, and the doctor ended up hurting the claimant’s case by simply going too far.
It does not have to end up that way for you! If you’re looking for a treating physician in an admitted case, and you don’t know where to go, please call us and we will help you without charge. If you are looking for a physician to speak with about a denied case or a case in which you are on the fence, please call us, and we will help you with that too. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but a bad physician is worth ten pounds of manure!