Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws allow your employer’s insurance company to choose the doctor who treats your work-related injury. If you do not seek comply with the doctor’s instructions or seek treatment with this doctor, your workers’ comp benefits may be terminated. You do have the right to seek a second opinion from a doctor you choose; however, you will be responsible for the payment of the medical bills related to a physician not chosen by the insurance company. In some cases, the insurance company may be required to pay the medical bills for a doctor you choose if you can show “good cause” for why you chose another doctor. However, not liking a doctor is not “good cause” for changing to another workers’ comp doctor.
Is There Anything I Can Do If I Disagree With The Company Doctor?
You do have the option of requesting an Independent Medical Examination (IME) at a specific point in your workers’ compensation case. However, an IME has the potential to both help and hurt your workers’ comp claim. For this reason, it is in your best interest to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney if you are unhappy with your medical treatment for a workplace injury. A workers’ compensation attorney understands how to best protect your interests under Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws.
What is an Independent Medical Examination?
You will receive a form when your workers’ comp benefits are terminated. This may be when you are released by the company doctor to return to work or the company doctor determines you have reached maximum medical recovery (MMI). Maximum medical recovery means that you have improved as much as you are going to improve and further medical treatment will not help improve the medical condition caused by the workplace injury — at least according to the doctor.
If you disagree with the company doctor’s findings, believe you are being returned to work too soon, or you would benefit from additional medical treatment, you can request an IME. However, you must file your request for an IME within seven days from the date you receive Form 38911 Report of Claim Status/Request for Independent Medical Examination so you must act quickly.
An IME is somewhat like a second opinion but the results of an IME have a significant impact on your workers’ compensation claim; therefore, consulting a workers’ comp attorney early in the claim process can be a great benefit in the event you need to request an IME. A doctor will be appointed to review your medical records, conduct an in-person evaluation, and perform a medical examination. Based on his findings at the IME, the doctor will advise the board if you have reached MMI and if you have any permanent impairment from the workplace accident.
Why Do I Need A Workers’ Comp Attorney for an IME?
In some cases, the insurance company for the employer will send you to an IME as a way to gain more information to deny your claim, declare you have reached MMI to terminate your benefits, or gain a lower impairment rating for a permanent disability. Remember, this is an insurance doctor.
If you are being treated unfairly, a workers’ comp attorney can help you schedule an IME with your own physician to refute the findings of the other IME. Depending on the type and severity of your workplace injury, fighting the insurance company may be the only way to receive a fair and just outcome in your case.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Comp Attorney
Indiana’s workers’ compensation laws can be confusing and frustrating for an injured worker. The laws are designed to protect injured workers; however, some insurance companies take every opportunity to decrease the amount of compensation they must pay for claims. An experienced workers’ comp attorney knows how to fight these tactics to ensure you are treated fairly.
Contact The Ken Nunn Law Office by calling 1-800-CALL-KEN or 1-800-225-5536 for a free legal consultation. Our attorneys want to help you receive the benefits you are legal entitled to receive under our workers’ compensation laws.