I have had two spine surgeries while on worker's compensation. So far, I have attended three IMEs (and was told they all "found for me"). I have another IME scheduled (possibly two) and do not want to attend; I want to settle my case. Am I required to attend any IME that the insurance company schedules before I can?
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
In Arizona, the employer/insurance companies are allowed to schedule periodical medical examinations (IME's) and if you refuse to submit or obstruct the exam your benefits shall be suspended until the exam takes place. The rules do, however, allow you to file a motion for protective order with the Industrial Commission if the exam is unnecessary, would be cumulative, or could reasonably be timely scheduled with an appropriate physician where you reside. You have very little time to file a motion for protective order. Specific questions about your case need to be directed to a workers' compensation attorney.
You will probably need to attend these exams. There are many subtleties in workers' compensation, and you will need an attorney to take some time to explain the underlying mathematics and the give and take of resolution. I am good at explaining the ins and outs of the system. I just gave a presentation on this subject to the largest labor union in the southwest last week. Let me know if I can assist.
Workers' Compensation Lawyer
I would consult with an attorney to determine whether your refusal to attend an IME would serve to suspend your benefits. This is the case in Texas unless you have good cause for failing to attend.
The answering of this question does not constitute a attorney-client relationship. Further by answering this question the attorney has not agreed to represent inquisitor.
Spine surgery, no matter how minimally invasive, is a very serious procedure. Doctors don't perform it unless a patient has a very, very serious condition which other forms of treatment do not adequately address.
If you have had two spine surgeries, having a 3rd or even a 4th one may be a very real possibility. With this type of future medical expense at risk (especially if you don't have insurance that will cover it) you really need an excellent workers compensation attorney representing you. Your insurance carrier is interested about the here and now. Your work comp lawyer will be looking out for what you will probably be facing 10 or 20 years down the road.
Even if 10 or 20 IME's today say you are 100% or 90% good to go not even the best medical expert can predict your future. With your past surgeries, without a good work comp lawyer on your side, your future could be a horror story. Do NOT settle without consulting a highly experienced work comp lawyer in your state. The relatively small fee (usually capped by state law) will be worth every dime you pay the lawyer in the long run. Good luck.