Must an Injured Worker Submit to a Medical Examination?

Doctor and Patient

If you’ve filed for workers’ compensation, must you submit to a medical examination that has been requested by your employer or insurance carrier? The short answer is, yes .

Think about it – is it very unlikely that you will be taken at your word when you file a claim that says you’ve been injured at the workplace in a way that qualifies you for compensation. Even if you do get examined immediately following the incident, you should expect to receive a request to have an additional independent medical examination, as well.

An independent medical examination will oftentimes differ from your initial examination immediately following the incident. When an injured person submits to an examination from their local doctor or hospital, it is for the purpose of treatment. However, a later examination will likely be one requested by the insurance company of your employer. In this examination, the doctor will be determining the specifics of your injuries, and how they relate to the incident in question. They will then prepare a report to be sent to the insurance company.

To prepare for an independent medical examination, you should recall details of your injury, such as:

  • How it occurred
  • What areas of your person were or are affected
  • What circumstances cause you the most pain (such as climbing stairs, lifting, etc.)
  • Treatment that has and has not been effective for you
  • Activities that have been limited or affected by this injury
  • Your overall medical history, including previous injuries

Please know that there is nothing “independent” about this exam. This exam is set up and paid for by the insurance company in an effort to limit the loss. This means pay the injured worker as little as possible under the law. There is no doctor/patient relationship and no duty of care is required to the injured worker.

Remember, if you choose not to undergo the independent medical examination that is requested of you, it may affect your workers’ compensation claim. For more information, contact the workers’ compensation experts at Erwin, McCane, & Daly.