There are some common myths that prevail in the field of workers’ compensation surrounding compulsory medical examinations set up by the Employer and Insurer.  Below, some of those myths are dispelled and the law on this issue clarified.

Myth #1: The Compulsory Medical Exam Must Be Set up Where the Employee Resides

At the expense of the employer, an employee must present for an examination to a “duly qualified medical practitioner” selected by the employer, at a time and place reasonably convenient for the employee.  Under South Dakota law, the physician must be licensed in SD in order for the employer to compel the employee to attend.  This does not mean that a non-licensed SD physician cannot be used, it just means that the only way to get the Department to compel attendance, or suspend benefits, is when the employer complies with SDCL 62-7-1.

Myth #2:  Employee is Not Allowed to Have Anyone Present at the Examination

The employee may request that the examination take place in the presence of a duly qualified medical practitioner paid for by the employee.  If the examination is made without a duly qualified medical practitioner present on behalf of the employee, the employee is entitled to a written report from the examination if requested.

Myth #3: An Employer is Limited to Only One Compulsory Examination of the Employee

Under Title 62, the Employer is entitled to get a compulsory examination once every four (4) weeks for purposes of determining the nature, extent, and duration of the injury received by the employee.

Myth #4: An Employee is not required to attend the IME 62-7-3

If an employee refuses to submit themselves to a medical examination, or unnecessarily obstructs the examination, the employee’s right to compensation payments can be temporarily suspended until the examination takes place, and no payments need to be made under Title 62 until that occurs.

Myth #5: When the Claimant Does Attend the Exam, He Can Receive the Missed Benefits

If the benefits are suspended pursuant to SDCL 62-7-3, the Claimant is not eligible for benefits that would have been awarded from the time he/she fails to attend a compulsory medical examination to such time as he attends the examination or reaches maximum medical improvement.

If you have any questions about IME’s or South Dakota law regarding the same, please give us a call to discuss.