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Insurer’s Independent Medical Exam for Injured Airline Workers

Attorneys Serving Chicago Area Residents Hurt On the Job

Under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, a workers’ compensation insurer is entitled to ask an injured airline worker to see a doctor of their choosing for an independent medical exam. If you are an injured airline worker who is asked to participate in an independent medical exam, you are obligated to do so. If you fail to go to this exam, your benefits can be stopped. This means you would no longer receive disability payments or have your medical care paid for by workers’ compensation insurance. A skilled Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can answer your questions regarding insurer’s independent medical exams for injured airline workers.

Insurer’s Independent Medical Exam for Injured Airline Workers

Your airline employer’s workers’ compensation insurer is entitled to have you examined by a doctor they’ve selected. The insurer is supposed to send you a travel check before the appointment to cover travel expenses to go to and come back from the independent medical exam. If you lose wages in trying to go to this exam, the employer is supposed to also reimburse you for those lost wages.

The purpose of the independent medical exam under section 12 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act is to evaluate details related to the employee’s claim, including the extent and nature of the work-related injury, and how long the compensation that might be paid is anticipated to last.

Is the Independent Medical Exam Truly Independent?

You should not be fooled into thinking that an insurer’s independent medical exam is conducted in a neutral fashion. The name of the exam is misleading. It’s important to be aware that the independent medical examiner does not owe you anything. You are not a patient in this context, and the exam isn’t neutral. Often the workers’ compensation insurer pays doctors large sums for each exam, and only chooses to work with those doctors that are known to be more conservative or likely to reach conclusions that align with the employer’s interests. It is often in a doctor’s own financial interest in this context to state opinions that are arguably adverse to a patient’s interests. For example, they may oppose a treating physician’s order for surgery or claim that the employee’s injuries aren’t work related.

Because independent medical exams are often used to deny workers’ claims for benefits, it is advisable to contact legal counsel prior to your exam. A seasoned attorney can quickly assess a doctor’s background and how best to approach any issues that might be sensitive.

What Happens at the Exam and Afterwards?

During the exam, the independent medical examiner will ask you details about your injury. These may include questions about how the accident happened and your observations of your injuries at the time. For example, if you were hit by a vehicle while loading bags on the tarmac, you may be asked to describe the vehicle’s collision with you, and any symptoms of injury you experienced afterward. The examiner will documents any findings in a written report. The report may be issued or the doctor may provide testimony about their opinion at a workers’ compensation hearing. The doctor needs to provide the examining report to the employee and employer, and if there’s a hearing already scheduled, it should be received 48 hours before the hearing, so that neither party is surprised by its contents.

There are situations in which your treating doctor might disagree with the findings of the independent medical examination, and believe that you require more medical care and more time off work than the insurer’s examiner does. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will try to show that your doctor’s opinion should carry greater weight than the opinion of the independent medical exam doctor.

Hire a Seasoned Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Chicago

If you’re concerned about an insurer’s independent medical exam for injured airline workers in Chicago, you can contact our office. The seasoned attorneys of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca represent airline workers in Rockford, Champaign, Aurora and Quincy, as well as Sangamon, Winnebago, Cook, Adams, and Kane Counties. We look closely at all circumstances surrounding your work injuries to figure out whether you have a claim against a third party or a claim for SSDI in addition to workers’ compensation benefits. Contact us at 312-724-5846 or by completing our online form.