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Workers’ Compensation – Appeals – Treating Physician – TTD

By: S.C. Lawyers Weekly staff//September 6, 2022

Workers’ Compensation – Appeals – Treating Physician – TTD

By: S.C. Lawyers Weekly staff//September 6, 2022

In a 2014 order, a single commissioner’s order summarily stated that the respondent-Claimant was not entitled to benefits under S.C. Code Ann. §§ 42-9-10 (total disability), -20 (partial disability), -30 (scheduled recovery), -210 (payments made by an employer when they were not due), -260 (temporary total disability) and 42-15-60 (medical treatment). These conclusions were based on the commissioner’s ruling that the claimant had failed to comply with S.C. Code Ann. § 42-1-560 (the third-party statute), a ruling that this court reversed on appeal. Accordingly, on remand, the Workers’ Compensation Commission properly considered the claim on its merits. 

We affirm the commission’s award of benefits. 

We reject appellants’ argument that the commission erred in designating an orthopedic surgeon to direct Claimant’s future neck and back care. Appellants assert the commission improperly deprived them of their right to choose Claimant’s physician, but appellants’ preferred physician had opined Claimant was not at the point of maximum medical improvement and did not need any future medical treatment—positions with which the commission disagreed. 

The commission is empowered to supervise and direct the treatment process. It would at least be odd—and maybe even silly—for the commission to order that Claimant was entitled to back surgery but designate as Claimant’s doctor a physician who believed Claimant did not need surgery. 

The last point we must address is related to temporary total disability benefits (TTD). This case was tried in 2013 and decided in 2019. The order found Claimant was not at maximum medical improvement and, among other things, found that appellants could not terminate TTD. The 2019 order required appellants to resume TTD payments and held that they owed Claimant a lump sum for any back-owed TTD. 

When this case was remanded, appellants did not ask the commission for the opportunity to update the record from the 2013 trial or to amend their stop-pay request and present evidence that Claimant’s condition had improved and that he was capable of working. Granted, the situation was unusual, but the time to sort out and litigate (if necessary) the proper procedure was before the commission ruled on the merits, not after. 

The case was tried on appellants’ request to stop TTD payments. The commission ruled against appellants on that request. The result of that ruling necessarily meant appellants could not stop paying TTD and that they owe it until the commission authorizes them to stop paying. 


Rose v. JJS Trucking (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-019-22, 8 pp.) (Per Curiam) Appealed from the Workers’ Compensation Commission. Timothy Blair Killen, Amy Cofield, Lisa Glover and Kirsten Leslie Barr for appellants; Stephen Benjamin Samuels for respondent. S.C. App. Unpub. 

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