Investigation: Out-Of-State Doctors Used To Deny Workers’ Comp Claims

Local News

If you’re injured on the job, you usually expect worker’s compensation to cover your medical bills. But some South Dakotans have found out the hard way that doesn’t always happen.  

Angela Kennecke has been investigating how insurance companies are able to deny claims and a new proposed law that would prevent injured workers from taking a denied claim before a jury.  

There’s a lot to this issue: But a major key starts with out-of-state doctors who are paid through a third party, hired by your insurance company. KELOLAND News has found, in the case of one of these doctors, his findings were in favor of the insurance company over the injured worker a majority of the time. 

That’s what happened to Pam Douglas. She was working maintence for a Rapid City hotel when she hurt her back. Medical tests showed she needed surgery, but the workers’ comp insurance company hired another doctor who said otherwise. 

“And then we get his report and he says it was caused by me rolling over in bed,” Douglas said. “That was what his report said that when I rolled over in bed I herniated a disc.”

Her worker’s comp was denied, but Douglas fought back.

But now some members of the South Dakota legislature want to prevent cases from going before a jury, as well as capping damages to insurance companies at $30,000.

Angela Kennecke looks into who’s sponsoring this bill and asks those lawmakers whose interests they’re looking out for, in tonight’s KELOLAND News investigation at 6 and 10 p.m. CT. 

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