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Workers’ compensation and the independent medical examination

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If you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, then you’re probably concerned not only about your physical recovery, but also about your financial stability. An unexpected on-the-job injury or illness can knock you out of work for a significant period of time, thereby forcing you to forego much needed wages and incur significant medical and rehabilitative costs. Fortunately, workers’ compensation is available to injured workers, but these individuals need to be aware of how the law applies to these situations so that they can pursue benefits as aggressively as possible.

One important matter is the independent medical examination. Under North Carolina law, an employer may request that an injured worker submit to an independent medical examination and that worker must comply, so long as the doctor in question is licensed and qualified. This evaluation can play a huge role in a workers’ compensation claim determination.

However, the law provides injured workers with some protections during this process. To start, an individual can have his or her own physician present at the independent examination. Additionally, the independent examiner must provide a written report to the injured worker within 10 business days. Included with that report must be the documentation and communications relied upon to conduct the examination. If the injured worker disagrees with the determination of permanent total disability, then a physician of the worker’s choosing can re-evaluate the percentage of disability.

This issue, though oftentimes quite complicated, is only one piece of a workers’ compensation claim. It serves to illustrate just how delicate these matters can be. Injured workers need to be prepared to fight for the benefits they deserve, which isn’t always an easy feat.