Independent Medical Exams (IMEs)
If you were injured while at work, you may wonder if you must see a company doctor, or if you can choose your own physician.
It’s important to know your rights and what you must do, because failing to follow the proper steps after a work injury could jeopardize your chances of receiving Pennsylvania workers’ compensation.
When Must I See a Company Doctor?
When your employer has a “panel of doctors” posted at your work site, you must see one of these company doctors for the first 90 days in order to receive any workers’ compensation for your medical bills. These doctor visits are called Independent Medical Exams (IME).
Independent Medical Exams
Your employer’s insurance company pays for Independent Medical Exams, as well as the physician who does the exam. Unfortunately, it’s quite common for a company doctor to tell you that you’re no longer injured and can return to work, even if you don’t think you’re ready.
At any point during treatment with a company doctor, you have the right to refuse to have an insurance company representative present during your medical examinations.
You also have the right to seek a second opinion and to have your employer’s insurance company pay for that visit if the company doctor recommends extensive or invasive surgery. However, if the doctor who gives the second opinion recommends any medical treatment, it must be carried out by the company doctor within the first 90 days of treatment.
Your employer CAN request that you see a company doctor every 6 months while you receive workers’ compensation benefits.
After 90 Days Have Passed
After the first 90 days, you can choose your own personal doctor, chiropractor, or another medical professional, as long as you notify your employer’s insurance company within 5 days of this change.
No List of Company Doctors Posted
If your employer doesn’t have a “panel of physicians” posted anywhere at work, you have the right to choose your own physician and receive payments for medical bills from the start.
What if the Company Doctor Says I Can Return to Work?
- You may agree with the company doctor and go back to work.
- If you feel you are still too injured to return to work, you may disagree with the physician. If you don’t go back to work, chances are your employer will file a Petition to Terminate, Modify, or Suspend your workers’ compensation benefits. You’ll have to go before a workers’ compensation judge to decide if your compensation benefits should continue. This can become a lengthy process that is complicated from start to finish. It’s best to consult an attorney before your payments stop to protect your rights.
Problems With Company Doctors? Get a Free Legal Evaluation Now
If you were hurt on the job, and you’re being forced back to work before you’ve recovered, contact Edgar Snyder & Associates immediately for legal help.
Call 1-866-9-4EDGAR (1-866-943-3427), or fill out a free legal evaluation form. Our phones answer 24/7, and there’s no obligation to use our services. If you’re at risk for losing your benefits, you must act quickly – before it’s too late.