Are Independent Medical Examinations Independent?
Posted by Ira H. Weinstock, P.C. in Workers’ Compensation and Helpful Information on October 17, 2014
In Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation it is common for an employer to schedule an independent medical examination. But are these exams really “Independent?” In reality, these exams are only for the benefit of the Workers’ Compensation Carrier and your Employer. These exams are not independent in that it is the Workers’ Compensation Carrier that requests the exam, communicates with the doctor, and pays for the doctor to perform a short exam and generate a medical report. Often, these doctors are paid in excess of $1000 to perform these exams and generate a medical report.
These exams must be scheduled at a reasonable time and a reasonable location. If the injured worker disagrees, then the injured worker can object to the exam.
The Employer is required to reimburse you for your mileage to and from this examination at the standard IRS Mileage rate. In addition, if the injured worker is already back to work, the Employer is obligated to reimburse the injured worker for any lost wages. If the injured worker incurs any tolls or parking expenses going to the exam, the injured worker is entitled to be reimbursed these expenses.
The Workers’ Compensation Carrier generally requests that the injured worker provide x-rays, MRI films, and other medical records for the exam. If this presents a problem, the injured worker can request the workers’ compensation carrier to obtain these records. If the injured worker obtains the records on his/her own, keep track of the mileage and the Employer also is obligated to reimburse the injured worker for this mileage.
If transportation presents a problem, the injured worker should request transportation through the workers’ compensation carrier. Also, if the date or time presents a problem for the exam, please notify the workers’ compensation carrier immediately so that the examination can be rescheduled. You are not obligated to rearrange your schedule to work within the Workers’ Compensation carrier’s schedule unless there is a Judge’s order.
These exams are scheduled by workers’ compensation carriers with ulterior motives such as trying to stop and/or reduce an injured workers’ weekly check and medical benefits. It is advisable to speak to a lawyer experienced in Pennsylvania Workers Compensation prior to and after the exam. Please contact our office to speak to an experienced Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for a free consultation at 717-238-1657.