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If an injured worker has undergone a medical-legal examination, and a subsequent injury is filed before the first injury is resolved, the injured worker is able to go to another examiner for the new claim. For example, if an injured worker had a prior back claim and already went to a panel qualified medical examiner for that claim, the injured worker does not have to return to that same doctor for a new claim to his/her back and any additional body parts. Even though the same body parts are associated with the original injury in this scenario, there is no requirement forcing the injured worker back to the same physician. Although it can be more practical to use the same examiner, there are certain situations where another examiner may be necessary, such as one of the parties wanting a different specialty. Recent case law has confirmed the Labor Code does not require an employee to return to the same panel QME for an evaluation due to a subsequent claim of injury. (The Navarro decision of early 2014 applied to qualified medical examiners and the subsequent Norwood decision of mid-2014 held the same applied to agreed medical examiners.)
The one exception to this rule is where an injured worker has not been examined yet by a medical-legal examiner and has more than one claim filed at that time. In that event, the medical-legal examiner is required to address “all” injuries claim at the time of his/her examination.
Of course, every case is unique and involves different facts. If you have questions about treatment for your workers' compensation injury and want to talk to an attorney in Fresno, please call 559-408-7436 or fill out the form to the right.