Independent Medical Examinations and Workers’ Compensation Claims

After a workplace injury, proper diagnosis and treatment will help the injured worker return to full health in as little time as possible. If the injury is a serious one, however, its effects may linger into the future. In order to recover the full amount of compensation, a comprehensive diagnosis is required. Sometimes this means seeing more than one doctor, even after an initial diagnosis is made. Fortunately, workers’ compensation law recognizes and allows for what are termed ‘independent medical examinations.’

An independent medical examination may be requested by the injured worker or the defendant employer. Each side has its own reasons for wanting a second opinion. For the injured worker, an independent medical examination may be needed when a serious injury has been suffered but the original physician is skeptical about the extent of the injury. For certain cases, such as head injuries or nerve damage, an examination performed by an expert in those fields may be more definitive than an early diagnosis provided by a general practitioner. A worker may also wish to seek a second opinion if a potentially dangerous surgery is recommended.

The defendant may also choose to have the injured employee undergo an independent medical examination. Its motivation for doing so is different from the employees’, because the company will want to pay as little as possible in compensation. The defendant employer may wish to obtain a second medical opinion that diminishes the extent of the injury and downplays its long-term effects. It will then use this information to make a low settlement offer.

In addition, the defendant may seek an independent medical examination to show that they did not unreasonably deny or controvert the injured employees’ request for workers’ compensation. If a case goes to trial and it is found the request was unreasonably denied, the defense may have to pay for the attorney’s fees of the employee. Having some evidence in their favor makes this less likely.

Having an experienced attorney on your side is key in obtaining all the financial compensation you deserve for your injury. The attorneys of Murphy & Garner, LLC, have over 32 years of experience serving clients in western Georgia and the surrounding area. We will fight for your rights and get you the compensation you deserve. Call us today for a free consultation at 866-942-0552 or 678-563-1584.

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