The Louisiana Third Circuit has reversed a motion to compel an injured worker to sign an internal document associated with a second medical opinion exam. The case, Walker v. The Summit, centered not around whether or not Walker must submit to a second medical opinion exam, but rather, the form that the claims administrator (Employment Risk Management Services) requested that Walker sign prior to the appointment. Under Louisiana law, injured employees must submit to an SMO and are not required to sign any documentation to that effect as part of the claims process. ERMS’s form, entitled “Medical Evaluation Consent Form,” listed a variety of concessions and acknowledgements that Walker would be making upon signature and cooperation in the exam. These included the supposed fact that the SMO doctor selected by her employer was “an independent medical examiner” and that she must be honest with him during the appointment. Additionally, the document warned that if Walker was not honest, “any attempt to give less than her best effort would be detectable” by Dr. Smith. Walker’s attorney stopped her from signing the document, a workers’ comp judge attempted to force her to sign it, and Walker took an interlocutory appeal to stop the compulsion. The Third Circuit explained in their reversal that they were “troubled” by the language in the document, especially because Dr. Smith is not in fact a certified independent medical examiner.
Read a full overview from WorkCompCentral here.
Read the decision here.