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Can employers request medical exams for workers' compensation?

When Illinois workers are injured on the job or suffer from an occupational illness, they may qualify for workers' compensation benefits. However, not every case is clear cut in the view of the employer, and there is usually a request for more information before a workers' compensation claim is approved.

In many instances, an employer can ask that the worker take part in a medical examination by a medical professional selected by the employer. This does not mean that the employer disputes that the worker is injured, or that the matter is becoming an adversarial situation. It is still important to have legal advice in such a circumstance.

To obtain workers' compensation benefits, an employee must agree to an employer's request that there be a medical examination by the employer's choice of doctor. The medical professional is not required to be in Illinois. The doctor's location must be reasonably convenient for the worker. This examination is to determine the injury's nature, its severity, how long the injury is expected to last, and the compensatory damage caused. The employee will be notified of when and where the exam will take place and provide payment so that the employee is not responsible for travel and meals if the exam is a sufficient distance away. If there are lost wages because of the trip that, too, will be reimbursed.

The employee can have a qualified medical professional that he or she pays for present for the examination with the employer's selected medical professional. If the employee does not have a medical professional present, the examining medical professional must provide their findings to the employee or the employee's legal representative. Should an employee refuse to take part in the requested examination or does not cooperate when being given the examination, workers' compensation payments can be suspended until the examination is completed as required.

Because some workers' compensation cases are more complicated than others, it is not unusual for an employer to request that the employee take part in a medical examination conducted by the employer's choice of doctor. Employees must understand their rights in these situations, as it can impact their workers' compensation claims. A law firm that specializes in workers' compensation should be contacted from the start to protect the worker's rights and deal with any issue that arises.

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