Can I file a medical malpractice case if workers’ comp is paying for my medical bills?

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Can I file a medical malpractice case if workers’ comp is paying for my medical bills?

I believe I have a case of a medical malpractice which I had no idea existed until my mother talked to an attorney. I was injured through work by a forklift that fractured my heel, torn ligaments and bone fragments but I’m being covered by workers’ comp who’s paying my medical bills but throughout myself being under the doctor’s negligence I developed an infection in my foot because it was never properly taken care of after the accident. Then I developed a bacterial infection in my stomach through my foot do I still have a case through medical malpractice and will it even be worth it because I’m not paying for my medical bills?

Asked on December 26, 2016 under Malpractice Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Two different questions are present here:
1) Can you file a medical malpractice case (obviously, only if the medical care was negligent [careless] or otherwise substandard), if worker's comp is paying your medical bills? Yes: you can file for (potentially) future lost earning potential (if you face permaent disability) and/or for pain and suffering--i.e. for elements of a claim not paid by worker's comp.
2) Whether it's worth it--probably not. If your medical costs have been paid, you can't get anything for them: you can't "double recover" for the same cost. If you had an infection, even a bad one, unless it has some significant permanent effect (e.g. it damaged your stomach so you will forever have significant problems with digestion; or will in some way keep you from working as much [or at all] in the future, lowering your income), the amount you could get for "pain and suffering" for a even a few weeks of pain or discomfort is so low that you'd spend far more on the lawsuit (e.g. on the medical expert[s] you *must* hire for a malpractice case) then you'd get back. Only if you suffered some very long lasting or permanent disability or impairment would it be worthwhile to consider a case.


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