Medical Negligence in Workers’ Compensation Claims

Work Injury Lawyer Assisting Employees Throughout the Atlanta Area

If you are a successful recipient of workers’ compensation benefits for a job-related injury, you will be entitled to receive medical care paid for by your employer. However, this will typically mean that you need to visit a treating physician who is “authorized” by the employer’s insurer. In some circumstances, these doctors may not be ideally suited to address your injury or thoroughly qualified to handle your medical issue, and improper handling of your situation can occur. Work injury attorney Julie A. Rice has worked with individuals in Atlanta and the surrounding areas who have possible claims against their authorized workers’ compensation physician. She can help you fight for your right to proper medical care.

Medical Negligence and Workers’ Compensation

When your workers’ compensation claim is approved by the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Board, you will be entitled to have your medical bills paid during the course of treatment for your job-related injury. However, in order to ensure coverage of your medical expenses and ease administrative burdens for employers, you will receive an official notice that lists “authorized” medical providers that you may see for treatment. In certain circumstances, you may find that the authorized physician you visit fails to act as carefully as he or she should. The absence of proper care can cause serious harm, either by resulting in an additional injury or by exacerbating your ongoing condition. This is known as medical negligence.

Georgia workers’ compensation law does not prevent you from raising a claim of medical negligence against an authorized physician. While these laws typically prevent an employee from bringing a negligence, or tort, claim against an employer for an injury that he or she experiences on the job, these limitations do not extend to physicians selected by the employer. A malpractice claim can be independently raised aside from the existing workers’ compensation issue.

Proving Your Malpractice Claim

Incidents of medical negligence can give rise to lawsuits known as malpractice claims. The first step in these cases consists of showing that the defendant doctor had a particular duty of care, defined as using the same level of diligence and precautions that a physician in the same specialty would use in similar circumstances. The other elements of a medical malpractice claim include breach, causation, and damages. This means that your treating physician’s actions must have failed to meet, or “breached,” the professional standard of care. In turn, this must have directly caused harm to you.

Georgia is one of many states that have enacted laws meant to reform medical malpractice claims in order to reduce frivolous lawsuits against doctors. As a result, tough standards have been imposed for bringing this type of claim. For this reason, you will want to seek out the advice of an attorney who has experience in both the workers’ compensation and medical malpractice fields of law.

Contact an Atlanta Attorney to Discuss Your Workers’ Compensation Case

If you are dealing with a serious workplace injury or disability, you should be focused on your recovery and moving past your health issues to resume your normal life. One of the unexpected challenges in that process can be dealing with a physician or medical facility that is not treating your situation properly, prolonging your healing time or possibly making the condition worse. In severe cases, you may wish to bring a medical malpractice claim for your continued suffering. Workers’ compensation lawyer Julie A. Rice understands the complexities that injured employees near Atlanta may face. Many of our clients have come from Decatur, Marietta, and Lawrenceville, among other communities in Fulton, Clayton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Cobb Counties. You can contact Julie A. Rice, Attorney at Law, and Affiliates for an initial consultation at (770) 865-8654 and (813) 363-6664, or online.