As you recover your health following a workplace injury, you probably wonder how and when you can return to work. Injured workers can take different paths to get back to the workforce. You might need the help of a qualified medical evaluator.
Whether you should seek out a QME for assistance depends on whether the individuals helping you recover are in agreement about your condition.
The people assisting you in recovery
The California Department of Industrial Relations describes different people who will give you guidance and support in your quest to return to your job. Your primary treating doctor is one of them. People in high positions in your workplace, the claims administrator and any attorney you have hired can also assist you.
During your recovery, you should consult with everyone involved in your case about the kind of work you used to do and whether your condition permits you to resume your old duties or a lighter form of work. If everyone agrees, you may get a target date to return to work.
Using a QME to resolve disagreement
It is possible your doctor and the claims administrator will not agree on the nature of your injury and how it affects your work prospects. If this happens, a QME could give you an examination. A QME is a physician who has a certification from the Division of Workers’ Compensation Medical Unit to examine injured workers.
The results of a QME exam should resolve what kind of treatment you should have and what type of work you will be able to perform. However, injured workers who have attorneys might work things out to receive an examination from an agreed medical evaluator. This option would give you more control over the physician who examines you.