Greensboro, NC asked in Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation and Medical Malpractice for North Carolina

Q: Can a Work Comp patient file a separate Medical Malpractice claim against the WC doctor who caused a secondary injury?

The WC doctor ordered an EMG/NCS test (#1) in September, 2020 with an abnormal study indicating minimal nerve damage at my L5 nerve root which suggested a possible recovery time of 8 weeks from a slip & fall injury.

WC doctor ordered PT in October 2020 where I was placed on a Lumbar Traction table for 15 minutes causing trama at my L5 nerve root causing my myelin sheath to de-glove from my sciatic nerve rendering permanent nerve damage.

Followed up with WC doctor in November 2020 where HE indicates on his medical notes that I have suffered a secondary injury due to the lumbar traction table.

WC doctor reorders another EMG/NCS test (#2) in January 2021 with an abnormal study indicating nerve damage has worsened from September 2020 study.

I decided to pay out of pocket for another EMG/NCS test (#3) in October 2022 for a comparison with an abnormal study indicating no change from (#2) study.

My ability to function has been negatively impacted for life.

1 Lawyer Answer
Martha Ramsay
Martha Ramsay
  • Workers' Compensation Lawyer
  • Charlotte, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: Yes, an injured worker can file a separate medical malpractice claim when the doctor is not an employee of the same company. While often referred to as “WC” doctors, they usually are not employed by the company where the worker was injured or the workers’ compensation carrier.

Based on the facts you presented, your permanent damages arising from treatment for your work injury become part of the responsibility of the workers’ compensation carrier. Given the complexity of your situation, I recommend that you consult with a board-certified workers compensation specialist to look at the specific facts in your claim. They should be able to refer you to a medical malpractice attorney and work together for the best result for you.

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