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Can a Workers Comp Doctor Commit Medical Malpractice?

Doctors are human.  Like everyone else, they make mistakes sometimes.  Most people have heard about medical malpractice claims.

Sometimes, workers’ compensation doctors make mistakes as well.  They may diagnose an injury incorrectly.  They may not use proper care when performing surgery.

Sometimes, these mistakes do not cause any harm.  Other times, mistakes cause serious injury or even death.

Medical malpractice covers some of the situations where a doctor makes a mistake which leads to harmWhat happens if the workers’ compensation doctor makes a mistake?

Most people have heard the term “malpractice” before.  Malpractice means a mistake. Malpractice occurs when professionals like doctors and lawyers are not as careful as they should have been.

You need to understand two facts about medical malpractice in a workers’ compensation setting.

  1. The workers’ compensation insurance company remains responsible for medical treatment if you are injured as a result of the treatment or testing provided bythe workers’ compensation doctor
  2. You could have a separate claim for medical malpractice against the doctor who made the mistake

Let’s talk about how the insurance company remains responsible for medical treatment.  Suppose you were having surgery and the doctor made a mistake that caused you more pain and disability.  Suppose the doctor’s mistake meant you had to get lifelong medical treatment for your pain.

The insurance company could try to argue that they did not have to pay for your treatment anymore because your additional pain and disability was caused by the doctor instead of your work injury.

However, Georgia’s workers’ compensation law does not allow them to do that.  It has a special rule that makes the insurance company pay for injuries occurring from workers’ compensation medical treatment.  This makes sense because it was the work injury that made you need the medical treatment that caused the further injury.

What about the doctor’s responsibility?

If you suffered harm from a doctor or other medical professional’s mistake, you may have a separate claim in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.  The claim would most likely be for medical malpractice.

Why would I want to file a claim against the doctor?

Workers’ compensation already pays your medical bills.  So, why go through the trouble of filing a claim against the doctor?

Remember that Georgia workers’ compensation benefits are extremely limited.  You receive partial wage loss benefits.  You receive medical benefits.  You get permanent partial disability benefits.  You do not get anything for pain and suffering or what you have been through.

The benefits in medical malpractice claims are different.  If you succeed in a medical malpractice claim, you should receive money for what you have been through.  You may also receive other benefits that workers’ compensation does not pay.

How do I know if I have a good medical malpractice claim?

Like workers’ compensation, medical malpractice is a specialized area of the law.  It may be worth your time to pursue a medical malpractice case.  On the other hand, it may not.

To find out, you need to talk to a good attorney who specializes in medical malpractice. Our firm does not handle medical malpractice claims, but we know good attorneys that do handle them.

If you have questions about getting in touch with a good Georgia medical malpractice attorney, please feel free to call us at (770) 214-8885 or complete and submit our consultation request form and we can recommend someone for you.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

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Jason Perkins

Workers' Compensation Attorney

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