Importance of Workers' Compensation Independent Medical Examinations

Often, injured workers come to me because they are not happy with their workers’ compensation doctor. Unfortunately, most of the time the initial doctor that you are sent to is paid by the insurance company to give opinions that are favorable to them.  These physicians, usually from "occupational health clinics" know that unless they side with the employer and insurance company, they will not be sent patients.  This means that you are provided minimal care and may even be forced back to work too early. The insurance company does this to avoid paying you the income benefits YOU DESERVE.  Remember, insurance companies are in the business of saving money, not paying the full value of claims.

I believe the practice of insurance company providing substandard care is wrong.  As an injured worker, you should receive state of the art medical care.  You should also be able to see a workers compensation doctor who is unbiased, and will give a fair opinion to all parties.  If you are getting substandard care, or suspect that the workers' compensation doctor is biased toward the insurance industry, you may need an independent medical examination (IME).  Under Georgia law, If you have an accepted workers' compensation claim and have received income benefits within the last 120 days, the insurer must provide you an IME at their cost with a doctor of your choosing.  This is a benefit that the insurance company will usually not volunteer to you.

If the IME doctor identifies a condition that has not been diagnosed by your treating physician, and has a treatment plan for you, the State Board may require the insurer to switch your care to the IME doctor or a doctor who can adequately treat your condition pursuant to the IME doctor’s advice. 

The bottom line is this: The insurance company will often try to control your workers compensation claim by using their hired physicians.  Having an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can guide you through the process to ensure you get the treatment you need.  This means that you get the benefits and settlement dollars you deserve.

If you have been injured on the job, me by calling (706) 863-6600 for a free consultation regarding your on the job injury.

Christopher J. Hudson
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Augusta Personal Injury Lawyer