In many cases an employer or insurer, as part of their investigation of a claim, will require an injured worker to be examined by a doctor of their choice.
A worker is only required to submit to an independent medical examination if the employer or insurer has;
- discussed with the worker's primary treating medical practitioner the reasons for this review; and
- informed the worker in writing of those reasons
A worker is only obliged to undergo such review by a doctor nominated by the employer or insurer once every three months unless;
- the worker has suffered multiple injuries requiring consideration of medical practitioners who are specialists in different fields; and
- the review is conducted by a medical practitioner specialising in a different injury, or different field, or different aspect of the injury to the previous practitioner who conducted a review in that three month period.
If a medical practitioner who conducts such a review recommends that any medical or surgical treatment will shorten or terminate a worker's period of incapacity, certain obligations are then imposed on the worker. A worker in those circumstances should discuss this matter with their primary treating medical practitioner as the worker has 14 days in which to challenge that opinion. If the worker notifies the employer, not later than 14 days that he/she is not satisfied with the report the worker must submit to an examination by another medical practitioner selected by the worker. The employer or the employer's insurer is to pay for that examination. If the opinion is not challenged within that time limit and the worker does not comply with the recommended treatment without reasonable cause the payment of weekly compensation to the worker may be suspended.
Section 90B outlines the obligations as to the supply of medical reports obtained by the parties. Reports are provided to the other party and to the primary treating medical practitioner and the injury management co-ordinator. The worker is not entitled to receive a report directly, but rather has access to a report via the primary treating practitioner.
Unless medical reports obtained by a party are disclosed to the other party, they are not able to be relied upon as evidence in any proceedings before the Tribunal.
Please see the following sections of the Act: