Physical Examinations in Third-Party Workers’ Compensation Suits

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Have you been injured on the job in South Carolina? If so and you apply for workers’ compensation benefits, you will most likely need to be evaluated at some point by a doctor or other medical professional chosen by your employer and/or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. While such examinations are rarely pleasant, they allow your employer’s insurer the opportunity to verify the extent of your injuries as well as the injuries’ connection with your employment. Except in a few rare instances, you must submit to these examinations upon request or risk having your workers’ compensation claim denied.
In a third-party workers’ compensation case, instead of filing a claim against your employer’s insurance company for benefits, you instead seek compensation directly from an at-fault party (other than your employer) through a civil lawsuit. Just as in a workers’ compensation case, the extent of your injuries and their connection to your employment activities on the date of your injury are relevant inquiries. Does this mean you need to submit to an examination by a doctor of the other party’s choosing?

No Automatic Requirement to Be Examined by Another Doctor

Unlike workers’ compensation cases, in a third-party lawsuit there is no automatic requirement that says you must submit to a physical examination by a doctor of the other party’s own choosing. That being said, in general the other party can obtain a court order directing you to submit to a physical examination.  There are key differences, however, in how this process works in a civil lawsuit:

  • First, the other party must file a motion with the court and have the motion set for a hearing. You and your attorney must be provided notice of this hearing and be permitted to attend. The motion must set out the reasons why the other party believes you ought to submit to a physical examination.
  • At the hearing, the party requesting you to submit to an examination must demonstrate good cause why such an examination should be ordered. This could include (for example) evidence or sworn testimony as to why your existing medical records are insufficient for the case, what additional information the other party hopes to learn from the examination, and whether there are any less intrusive methods to obtain the information sought.
  • You would have an opportunity to object to the examination being ordered.
  • The court would then grant or deny the motion. If granted, the court would specify who will conduct the examination, where the examination will take place, what time the examination will occur, and set a deadline for the examiner to return his or her report to the parties.

Having an experienced and aggressive attorney helping you during your third-party lawsuit can increase the chances that the court would deny a request for an examination as your attorney will be familiar with the arguments necessary to prevail. Contact South Carolina third-party lawsuit attorneys at the law firm of David R. Price, Jr., P.A. by phone or online for assistance today.

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