Injured workers who make claims for workers’ compensation benefits must receive medical exams and medical treatment related to their injuries. Depending on the progress of your workers’ compensation case, you may need to have an independent medical examination performed.
Medical Exams Before Benefits Begin
Right after you got injured at work, your employer may have sent you to the emergency room or to a company doctor. Often these doctor visits are focused on treating the immediate symptoms of your injury, rather than a comprehensive exam. If you feel uncomfortable with the providers chosen by the employer, you may visit the doctor of your choice. However, if your employer uses a managed care plan, you may need to use doctors within the plan unless you can see a doctor now who treated you before the injury.
Also, some workers receive medical care related to an injury before they report the injury to their employer. Since the employer does not know about the injury, of course the employee can select the medical provider of his or her choice. You should be aware that your employer and the insurance company can gain access to any medical records related to the injury during the course of your case.
Treating Physician Visits
After you visit a particular health care provider two times, that doctor is considered your treating physician if he or she directs the medical care you receive. Under the Minnesota workers’ compensation laws, you can change your treating physician once in the first 60 days after an injury. After 60 days, you must get approval from the insurance company, the Department of Labor & Industry, or a workers’ compensation judge.
Again, your employer and the insurance company can access records created by your treating physician for purposes of the workers’ compensation case. The insurance company can take the doctor’s deposition if needed after you file a Claim Petition.
Independent Medical Exam
After you file a Claim Petition due to denial of benefits, the insurance company can require you to attend an Independent Medical Examination (IME). A doctor chosen by the insurance company will conduct the exam. This doctor does not provide any medical care to you or prescribe medications. He or she will review your medical history and treatment, ask you questions about your injury, and physically examine you. After the exam, he or she will write a report that assesses the diagnosis of your injury and whether it is work-related, describes your physical restrictions, and explains any need for further treatment, in his or her opinion.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.