Panel holds traveling to and from a respondents’ selected Independent Medical Examination (IME) is an implied part of the employment contract, and an injury sustained during the activity is compensable.
Claimant alleged an initial injury to his neck and back while working an oil derrick. Respondents contested the claim and required claimant to attend an IME in Denver, Colorado. While driving back to his home in Fruita, Colorado, he was in a motor vehicle accident (MVA) and alleged additional injuries.
The Panel of the Industrial Claim Appeals Office (Panel) ultimately opined that the injuries sustained in the MVA were compensable. The Panel noted that injuries involved an examination or evaluation and are compensable, even if the claimant receives no therapeutic benefit. Further, the Panel noted the change in the Colorado Workers’ Compensation Act in 2014 whereby the employer or insurer is required to pay claimant the expense involving attending an examination by a physician requested by the employer, including mileage, food, hotels and lost wages. Therefore, the Panel held that the Colorado General Assembly has elected to make attendance at a respondent’s selected medical examination an implied part of the employment contract, and therefore, compensable as part of the quasi-course and scope doctrine.
The Panel did note that a respondent’s selected IME is not the same as a Division IME. In the case of the latter, injuries incurred in travel to a Division IME are not compensable, as such activity is not part of the employer’s employment contract with the claimant.
Wanner v. Patterson UTI Drilling Company and Liberty Mutual, W.C. No. 5-065-967 (July 17, 2019)
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