Can I sue a workers' compensation doctor for malpractice?
Probably not, unless you were receiving treatment within the doctor-patient relationship, and the doctor’s provision of care amounted to medical negligence.
If you’re talking about suing the workers’ compensation doctor because his or her input on your medical condition led to a bad outcome to your workers’ compensation claim, that’s got nothing to do with medical malpractice.
Bottom line: You can’t file a medical malpractice case against a workers’ comp doctor simply because his or her opinions and findings played a role in a less-than-ideal outcome to your workers’ comp claim.
Usually, a “workers’ compensation doctor” is not your primary physician, but he or she offers an opinion on your injuries, the relationship of your injuries to your job, and the effect your injuries will have on your ability to work.
The workers’ compensation doctor’s opinion on these facets of your workers’ comp claim then play a role in whether or not your claim is denied or accepted, and the amount and extent of the workers’ comp benefits you receive.
But if you want to dispute these things -- the outcome of your claim (and indirectly, the workers’ comp doctor’s conclusions), the way to do that is through the workers’ compensation system in place in your state. Specifically, figure out what you need to do in order to challenge a claim denial or get a different doctor to offer an option on your injuries (but be aware that any other doctor will also come from within the workers’ compensation network).
You can learn more about Workers' Compensation Claims on our companion site, personalinjurylawyer.com.
by: David Goguen, J.D.