Your employer is required to pay for all reasonable, necessary and casually related medical treatment for your work injury, regardless of what that involves. In other words, your employer must pay for your emergency room (ER) visit; any hospital stay that might be required; any diagnostic studies such as an x-ray, MRI, etc.; evaluations with specialists; surgery; durable medical goods such as a cane, crutch, neck brace, etc.; prescription medication; physical therapy; and even in some instances modifications to your home or car depending on the severity of your work injury. Your employer is only responsible for paying for medical treatment that is related to your work injury. There are also mechanisms available to the employer under the law that allows the employer to challenge the reasonableness and necessity of your treatment. The amount that your employer has to pay for your treatment of a work injury is also governed by law. But, you are not required to pay any excess bill that the law says your employer does not have to pay.
The law does not require your employer to pay for your transportation expenses incurred in order to get medical treatment for your work injury. This expense is on you! This can sometimes be prohibitive if your claim was denied and you are not receiving wage loss benefits or, if the compensation that you receive just is not enough to bear this expense. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can often times refer you to medical facilities who provide transportation, at the medical facilities expense. Your employer is obligated under the law to reimburse you for travel expenses to attend an Independent Medical Examination (IME) which is a medical examination by a doctor chosen by your employer to evaluate your condition. An employer is typically only entitled to an IME once every 6 months. This examination is requested by the employer to determine if you are recovered from your work injury and can return to your regular job or, to see if you are recovered enough to be able to do some other kind of work. IME’s typically result in petitions being filed in your case to stop or reduce your compensation so you should consult with a lawyer when you receive a notice asking you to attend an IME.