Was Your Workers' Comp Doctor Negligent? Here's What to Do

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Was Your Workers' Comp Doctor Negligent? Here's What to Do

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

An injured employee whose injuries have worsened due to negligence of his or her workers’ comp doctor should start by switching medical providers, getting a copy of the medical records immediately, and keeping up with the treatment. He or she should also record specific details of the incident in a journal and file a medical malpractice claim against the negligent workers’ comp doctor.

Why a Negligent Worker’s Comp Doctor May Be Liable?

While the workers’ comp doctor is one of the physicians approved by the employer and on the payroll of the worker’s comp insurer, that doctor has a duty of care towards the injured employee. The doctor must offer a reasonable standard of care that is within the quality levels of what other medical providers in the same field would offer.

Any discrepancy from the established standards of care could result in a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent doctor. A personal injury attorney can investigate the situation of the injured employee and determine the legal options available to him or her. To obtain a favorable outcome in the malpractice claim, the attorney must prove the following elements on the injured employee’s behalf:

  • The workers’ comp doctor owed the injured employee a duty of care;
  • The doctor violated this duty of care by not providing an acceptable standard of care;
  • The injured employee suffered further compensable injuries;
  • The injuries were a direct result of the substandard conduct of the doctor.

The Course of Action for Dealing with a Negligent Workers’ Comp Doctor

Switching Doctors

Keeping a negligent doctor who is anticipating a medical malpractice claim is a bad idea. The doctor may incorporate some issues into the care and medical records of the injured employee to lower the odds of the employee obtaining a favorable outcome in his or her claim. Workers’ compensation attorneys can help injured employees switch doctors without affecting their worker’s compensation benefits.

Getting a Copy of the Medical Records

The injured employee should obtain a copy of his or her medical records right after the malpractice incident. That way, the records will be protected from any kind of tampering or modification.

Keeping up with Treatment and Following the Doctor’s Instructions

The injured worker should focus more on his or her recovery journey, not the lawsuit or claim. Continuing to get the recommended medical treatment and following the doctor’s instructions will enable an attorney to determine the full extent of the worker’s medical harms.

Maintaining a Regularly Updated Journal of the incident

A medical malpractice lawsuit or claim may take a few years before a decision is made. Keeping a journal and updating it regularly can help an injured worker remember every detail of the malpractice incident. Besides the incident, the injured worker should record details of the injuries suffered and follow-up care received.

Filing a Medical Malpractice Claim or Lawsuit

If the injured worker believes he or she has enough grounds for a medical malpractice claim, he or she should act promptly. Filing the claim early enough gives a lawyer adequate time to investigate the incident and piece together strong evidence that will leave the negligent workers’ comp doctor with only one option – fully compensating the injured worker.

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