Since July of this year, the California’s workers’ compensation system has used a process called Independent Medical Review (IMR) to resolve disputes about the medical treatment of injured employees. Independent Medical Review organizations are contracted by California’s Division of Workers’ Compensation to conduct IMRs on its behalf.
The IMR process is expected to resolve disputes more efficiently than the cumbersome and expensive court system. Since July, a request for medical treatment in the workers’ comp system must go through a review process to affirm that the treatment is medically required before it is approved. If treatment is denied, delayed, or modified, the injured employee may request an appeal of that decision.
IMR costs are paid by employers and are based on the nature of the medical dispute and the number of medical professionals required to resolve it. The expense of resolving a medical treatment dispute through IMR is expected to be substantially lower than the cost of litigating a treatment dispute. If medical treatment is denied, an injured worker (or someone she or he designates, like an experienced workers’ compensation attorney) may request IMR by submitting an application within 30 days of receiving the denial.
Even with the adoption of the IMR system, workers’ compensation in California is still a complicated and sometimes baffling process. Anyone who has been injured in the workplace should speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as quickly as possible. A good workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to assess your case for you and defend your legal right to full compensation. Additionally, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney will try to expedite the process so that you receive your compensation in a timely manner. If you are applying for workers’ compensation, hiring a good workers’ compensation lawyer is still the wisest move you can make.