What Is the Role of a Medical Examiner in Workers’ Compensation Hearing?

21 Aug, 2013
By: Donald W Fohrman

A medical exam by a qualified medical professional is part of any workers’ compensation claim. Employers often request that injured workers submit to an independent medical examination with a doctor chosen by the employer or its insurance company. Illinois workers’ compensation laws allow employers to set up an independent medical exam provided that the injured worker is given sufficient notice and is reimbursed for his or her travel expenses.

Although some medical exams requested by the employer are independent, many times the examining doctors hired by employers and their insurance companies are adverse to workers’ compensation claims and provide reports that are helpful to the employer’s defense of the claim. Accordingly, you may wish to consult with a skilled Illinois workers’ compensation lawyer prior to your medical exam. The Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at Donald W. Fohrman & Associates can advise you of your legal rights and help you determine which medical records should be shared with the independent medical examiner.

If an independent medical exam is set up, it is important that you attend the medical exam because the failure to do so will result in the suspension of workers’ compensation benefits. It is also important that you be honest, thorough, and cooperative with the examining doctor, but you should not share attorney-client communications with the doctor.

Information from an independent medical examiner can be used to support or dispute an employee’s workers’ compensation claim. In fact, the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission recently held in Napoletano v. Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, 21 ILWCLB 44 (Ill. W.C. Comm. 2012), that there is no prohibition on admitting the testimony of the examining doctor and that the examining doctor may ask an injured worker about his or her prior medical history even without the injured worker’s attorney present.

The Chicago workplace injury attorneys at Donald W. Fohrman & Associates have significant experience helping clients obtain worker’s compensation benefits following a workplace injury or accident. We will explain your legal rights to you and help guide you through the maze of legal obligations, including participation in an independent medical exam. If the examining doctor does not provide information to support your claim, we can help you contest the examining doctor’s conclusion and advocate on your behalf before the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission.

If you suffer from work-related injuries and your employer has requested an independent medical exam, contact our office at (800) 437-2571 to schedule a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys. We will educate you on what to expect at the independent medical exam and ensure that your legal rights are protected.

About The Author

Photo of Donald W Fohrman
After completing law school Donald became an assistant Attorney General for 7 years and was assigned to the Industrial Commission Division. During that time he spent evenings establishing his own firm. Donald became a founding partner of a large workers’ compensation/personal injury firm but decided to leave the firm in 1990 to start a smaller “boutique” firm with the belief that bigger isn’t always better!
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