Medical Examinations in Workers’ Compensation Cases

By Bruce P. Miller

When an individual files a Workers’ Compensation claim alleging that he/she suffered injuries as the result of an on-the-job accident, the law gives the defense (Respondent) the right to require that a medical examination be performed by a doctor of the defendant’s choosing for the purpose of evaluating the Petitioner’s injuries, providing a diagnosis of the injuries and also providing an opinion of the extent of permanent disability.

That information is, under the law, set forth in a report that is issued on behalf of the defense and is utilized in the case to establish the nature and extent of permanent disability and a basis for an award of disability on behalf of the Petitioner.

Not infrequently, the Petitioner fails to attend the medical examination with the doctor who has been chosen to perform same.

Several issues become involved when this occurs.  Questions arise regarding the Petitioner’s availability for the examination, the convenience of the location of same, the length of time that the Petitioner was provided with notice of the examination and the convenience of the location of the examination, primarily having to do with the distance between the Petitioner’s home and the doctor’s office.

When the doctor’s appointment is missed, at least on a second occasion, typically the doctor will charge a missed appointment fee and the Respondent will attempt to make the Petitioner responsible to pay same.

The Judge of compensation will be called upon to decide whether a missed appointment fee is appropriate, whether it should be paid by the Petitioner and if so, the amount of same.

Essentially, the Judge will utilize a common sense approach to this issue.

Suffice it to say that this will not become an issue if the Petitioner advises his/her lawyer with respect to any problems attending the examination and the timing of same.  The distance that has to be traveled should be discussed along with any other problems that can be anticipated insofar as attendance at the examination is concerned.

This is a problem that is usually easy to anticipate and important to avoid since it can create a distraction from the important issues in the Workers’ Compensation case.

Share Button

Tags: , ,