Your Guide to Workers’ Compensation Independent Medical Exams in Georgia

It can be scary to hear that your employer’s insurance company has requested an independent medical exam for you. You may be nervous about seeing a new doctor or concerned that your employer thinks that you are lying about your injury or condition. While it is normal to be apprehensive, it is important to know that independent medical exams are commonly requested and it does not mean that you have done anything wrong.

Your Employer’s Insurer Can Request That You Have an Independent Medical Exam

The workers’ comp insurance company can compel an independent medical exam whenever it’s reasonable to do so

In Georgia, an insurance company has the right to send an injured employee for an independent medical exam whenever it is reasonable to do so. Of course, what is reasonable often means different things to insurance companies and to injured employees. Generally, an insurance company is not sending an employee for an independent medical exam to help with the employee’s physical recovery. Instead, the insurer is seeking an independent medical exam to try to get an opinion that is more favorable to its position. Insurance companies may seek independent medical exams, for example, in order to avoid paying for an expensive surgery or to get an employee back to work sooner than the treating physician recommends.

If your employer’s insurer requests an independent medical exam that is consistent with Georgia law, then you have to comply and attend the appointment or you could risk your workers’ compensation income benefits. While you are at the appointment, you should be honest about your condition, about your symptoms, about your pain level, and about your medical history.

You May Request an Independent Medical Exam

As an injured worker, you have a limited right to request your own independent medical exam. In Georgia, you have the right to change doctors once without approval by your employer, but your new doctor must also be on the list of approved physicians that your employer provided you. Your attorney can help you exercise this right and get an appointment with the right doctor.

Before you go see a strange doctor suggested by your employer or you make an appointment for an independent medical exam on your own, it is important to speak with an experienced lawyer who can advise you of your rights and make sure that every step that is taken is consistent with Georgia workers’ compensation laws. To learn more about your rights and about the fair value of your workers’ compensation case, please call us today for a free consultation.