Independent Medical Examinations
Many recipients of Workers’ Compensation benefits will be required to submit from time to time to a so-called Independent Medical Examination with a physician selected by the Employer/Insurance Carrier. Injured workers should understand that the examinations are in no way independent. Many of the regular providers of these examinations are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by insurance companies to conduct these evaluations. Given the lucrative nature of such a practice, the providers obviously know where their bread is buttered.
Injured workers receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits can protect themselves when they attend such exams. Each worker should time the examination, including how much time they actually spend in the room with the doctor. The worker should, immediately upon the conclusion of the examination, make notes regarding what happened during the exam. After receiving a copy of the report of the examination, the workers should compare the information in the report to the note taken following the exam. He should then discuss any differences between the two with his counsel.
Under Pennsylvania Law an injured worker can have a health care provider of his or her own choosing present at the insurance evaluation. As defined under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, this can include a nurse. If the injured worker has a nurse in his or her family, the worker would be wise to ask that person to attend with them. On occasion, with some of the more egregious providers of insurance medical exams, our firm will hire nurses to attend the examination.
The so-called Independent Medical Examination is one of the pressure points placed on injured workers. If the worker has not talked to an attorney before such an exam is scheduled, our firm recommends a call be placed at that time.