If you want a second opinion about your work injury in Atlanta, you can obtain an independent medical examination (IME) at your employer’s expense if certain conditions apply. An IME is a secondary exam performed by a doctor who is unaffiliated with your case and is not providing you with medical treatment. An IME provider’s sole aim is to assess your condition and provide treatment recommendations and an expert opinion on whether or not you are capable of returning to work.
Board-permissible IMEs can include not only physical exams and medical testing, but also psychiatric and psychological tests and Functional Capacity Evaluations.
Your Right to Get a Second Opinion
Workers’ compensation insurer-approved doctors sometimes prematurely release an injured employee back to full duty. If you are filing for workers’ compensation or are currently receiving benefits and you don’t agree with your physician, you are entitled to a second opinion. It’s not uncommon for a worker’s authorized medical provider to rate the worker’s injury too low or put him back to work too soon, which causes the worker to have his or her income benefits cut off or reduced. Second opinions provide an unbiased perspective on your injury and can be very instrumental in keeping your benefits or getting you the medical treatment you need.
Furthermore, you are entitled to obtain your IME with a physician of your choosing. This is a relatively new privilege granted to workers in 1990. Before this legislation, workers seeking a second opinion had to file a request with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation asking for approval.
Requirements for an Employee-Sponsored IME
As per O.C.G.A. 34-9-202(e), you can obtain your second opinion/IME at your employer’s expense if you meet all six of these criteria:
- Your injury is compensable and occurred on or after July 1, 1990;
- You request the exam within 120 days after receiving income benefits;
- The IME takes place “at a reasonable time and place, within this state or within 50 miles of the employee’s residence”;
- The IME provider is a “duly qualified physician or surgeon”;
- You provide advance notice to the employer or the insurer about going to get a second opinion; and
- The IME cannot include medical diagnostic tests that you already had since your injury unless they total less than $250, or unless you pay for the duplicate tests yourself.
Have questions about benefits? Call Bader Law Firm, LLC
If you believe your authorized physician released you to work too soon, or if you are having problems getting the medical care or benefits you deserve, consult a local attorney in Atlanta for help with your case. Call Bader Law Firm, LLC. Contact us today for a free initial consultation at 678-562-5595.