Author: Pyrros & Serres LLP
Your Rights During a Workers' Compensation Insurance Company Medical Exam
When you've been hurt on the job and you file a claim for workers' compensation, one of the first steps you'll have to take is to submit to a medical examination by a company-selected doctor. Based on that physician's findings, your claim will generally be approved or rejected. So what are your rights with respect to such an exam?
Can You Refuse to Be Examined by a Company Doctor?
It's a requirement that you be checked out by a doctor chosen by the insurance company or by your employer. That does not mean, however, that you cannot go to your own doctor or that you cannot get a second opinion. If the findings of the company doctor differ from those of your doctor, the workers' compensation judge will have to make a decision regarding what evidence is most credible and may even have you obtain a third opinion.
Can You Videotape the Exam?
The form that you receive, notifying you of the examination with the company doctor—it's called an IME-5—tells you that the doctor has the right to determine whether he or she will videotape the examination. That may lead you to believe that it's solely at the discretion of the doctor whether the visit will be filmed. That is not the case—you always have the right to have your examination videotaped. In addition, the doctor's office cannot require that you provide any advance notice of your intention to audiotape or videotape the proceedings.
So what should you do if you arrive at the doctor's office, notify them of your intent to tape the exam, and they won't let you do that? You should graciously advise them that you won't submit to the exam unless you are allowed to tape it. It's not a bad idea to actually videotape that conversation, so that you have evidence of their refusal.
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