Kevin D. Kampschror
Under Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.140(1)(a) any employee who is entitled
to receive compensation under chapters 616A to 616D, inclusive of NRS
shall, if requested by the insurer or employer, submit to a medical examination
at a time and place reasonably convenient for the employee, and as may
be provided by the regulations of the Division. In other words, you must
attend an independent medical evaluation (“IME”) if the Insurer
sets it up for you.
What happens if you do not show up or refuse to go to the IME? Under Nev.
Rev. Stat. § 616C.140(5), if the employee refuses to submit
to an examination ordered or requested, or obstructs the examination,
the right of the employee to compensation is suspended until the examination
has taken place, and no compensation is payable during the period of suspension.
Meaning, the injured workers’ benefits will be suspended, including
but not limited to Temporary Total Disability (“TTD”) compensation
the injured may be receiving.
The reasons the injured worker may be required to attend an IME are numerous.
The injured worker may have pre-existing conditions and the Insurer may
be wanting to find out if those conditions have been aggravated, precipitated,
or accelerated pursuant to Nev. Rev. Stat. § 616C.175. Because if
they have, the condition then becomes part of the claim. In the alternative,
there may be relevant medical questions about how many body parts or to
what extent should they be covered under the claim that the Insurer may
require more medical opinions. Or unfortunately, although not all Insurers
do this, the Insurer may be simply looking for a medical opinion that
favors their position. Regardless of the reason, the injured worker must
go or they risk their benefits being suspended. The Insurer pays for the
cost of the IME.
Here is where there is a problem for the injured worker. This process is
one-sided. The cost of an IME for up to four hundred (400) pages of medical
records can be three thousand dollars ($3,000.00)! Many if not most injured
workers do not have that kind of money to even consider obtaining their
own IME at their own cost. The injured workers’ insurance company
will not pay for the IME as it is work related. This is what is referred
to as “medical handcuffing” the injured worker. The Insurer
has seemingly unlimited funds however the injured worker has none and
is at an extreme disadvantage.
This is not an area of law you should tackle yourself, nor is any part
of workers’ compensation. Therefore, it is advised you seek an experienced
attorney who is able to assist in obtaining all benefits that you are
entitled to under Nevada law.