What is a Motion to Compel Physical Examination (IME)?

In Pennsylvania workers’ compensation, Employers have a right to file a Motion to Compel a Physical Examination against an injured worker. These petitions are filed when an injured worker misses an independent medical examination scheduled by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Are employers entitled to have an injured worker undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?

As I discussed in prior blog posts here, Employers are entitled to have an injured worker undergo an independent medical examination during the pendency of the workers’ compensation claim. In fact, employers are entitled to have an injured worker undergo an IME every six months, or twice per year. It is also important to understand that the requirement does not necessarily mean just one examination. For example, if an injured worker is alleging or has an accepted injury as a low back injury and concussion, the employer is entitled to have the claimant examined twice, once by an orthopedic doctor for the low back and once for a neurologist for the concussion. It happens frequently when they are distinct, different body parts that are part of the work-related injury.

What happens if an injured worker misses or refuses to attend an IME?

If an injured worker misses or refuses to attend an IMRE, the employer has a right, and will indeed file, a Petition to Compel. That Petition to Compel will be assigned to a Workers’ Compensation Judge (WCJ). The WCJ will then schedule a hearing. The WCJ will inquire of the injured worker why the IME was not attended. In most cases, the WCJ will then issue an Order requiring the injured worker to attend a rescheduled IME.

Are there ramifications if an injured worker refuses to attend an IME after a WCJ issued an Order?

Absolutely. Anytime an injured worker refuses to comply with an Order of a WCJ there will be ramification on workers’ compensation benefits. A WCJ has the discretion and indeed will suspend wage loss benefits or entitlement of wage loss benefits until such time the injured worker attends the IME. That is not it though. The WCJ also has discretion to suspend medical benefits as well.

If you have been provided notice of an IME, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney right away. In most cases, IMEs are used to threaten injured worker benefits. The employer is positioning itself to either file a Suspension or Termination petition to stop wage loss benefits. IMEs are commonplace. They happen in nearly every workers’ compensation case. They should not be taken lightly. They are a direct threat to your entitlement to workers’ compensation benefits.

Mooney Law has an exclusive workers compensation practice. We have represented injured workers throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland. We are experienced, tested, proven, and results driven. Furthermore, we aren’t just in it for the quick settlement fee. At Mooney Law, we are a litigation law firm and are not shy about litigating workers’ compensation cases to decision. If you have been injured at work, get a FREE consultation. Simpleycall us at 717-200-HELP or 833-MOONEYLAW to schedule your free consultation with me. You can also visit our website and complete the Schedule a Consultation form.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.