Under certain conditions, a workers’ compensation claimant or employee can request that the Employer/Insurer pay for a medical opinion with a physician of his/her choosing. The second opinion doctor does not have be on the workers’ compensation panel. These exams are called “independent medical examinations.” It is often beneficial to receive an opinion from a physician who is not on the Employer’s opinion. These doctors often don’t feel the same pressure to please the insurance company or the Employer.
The claimant’s independent medical examination must be requested within 120 days of receipt of weekly benefits. These examinations can be useful in many respects including 1) determining treatment options; 2) moving for a change of doctor; 3) presenting with treating doctor with another opinion and 4) increasing settlement value.