November 19, 2001
MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS AND WORKERS' COMPENSATION
By: Kevin E. McCarthy, Principal Analyst
You asked whether the law requires an injured employee to go to a doctor selected by his employer for medical testing in order for the employee to be able to claim workers' compensation.
Under CGS § 31-294f, an injured employee claiming or receiving workers' compensation must submit to an examination by a doctor his employer selects from a list prepared by the Workers' Compensation Commission. This requirement applies whenever the employer or the commission reasonably requests an examination. The employer must pay for the examination, which must be performed to determine the nature of the injury and the incapacity arising from it. The employee can have a doctor who he selects and pays for observe the examination. The employee's right to compensation is suspended during the period he refuses.
CGS § 31-294d provides that when an employee is injured the employer must provide a doctor to attend to him at the employer's expense. Unlike medical examinations, the employee rather than the employer chooses the doctor, who must be on the commission's list. If the employee is unable to choose a doctor, the employer must do so, subject to the approval of the employee or his next of kin. If the employer has a doctor on staff or on call, that doctor can provide the initial treatment, but the employee can choose his own doctor for any subsequent treatment. If the employer fails to promptly provide a doctor, the employee can select one from the commission's list at the employer's expense.
Under CGS § 31-294e, the employee can refuse the treatment his employer provides and obtain treatment on his own, at his own expense. A commissioner who determines that an employee has refused to accept and failed to obtain treatment may suspend the employee's right to compensation during the period of the failure or refusal.