Worker Rights Regarding the Independent Medical Exam
There are thousands of workers injured on the job every year. The law requires that most employers provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage to ensure that employees receive medical care, workers’ compensation, rehabilitation, and disability benefits when they apply. In addition, the workers’ compensation system is a “no-fault” system, guaranteeing benefits without workers having to file lawsuits or fix blame. State laws vary as to the exact requirements for worker’s compensation programs, so it is important for injured workers to understand their state laws.
Injured workers are to report the injury immediately to their employer, at which point the employer will provide information about obtaining medical care. The law requires that employers provide a list of at least six different doctors from which to select their attending physician. If they do provide such a list, then the employee is required to be examined and treated, at least initially, by the insurance company’s doctors.
The employee may seek his or her own physician after 90 days but in some cases sooner if the employee is not receiving appropriate care from the insurance company doctors. At some point the insurance company will have the employee evaluated by their doctor who most likely will challenge the notion that the employee is still disabled. These physicians are usually operating for the benefit of the insurance company, and as a result the worker should be prepared to counter the doctor’s decisions.
Any employee who is not receiving appropriate diagnosis, treatment, or compensation should consult a workers’ compensation attorney immediately. These lawyers not only know the laws, but also, they deal with the insurers and courts that address these kinds of cases on a regular basis. They can help injured workers obtain the care and workers’ compensation they deserve.