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Understanding Labor Market Surveys, IREs and IMEs in Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

After you have received workers’ compensation, you may eventually get notices from the insurer about your case. These can inform you of changes to your benefits or make requests. It’s important to examine and respond to these letters promptly. If you need help, you can contact My Comp Lawyers for free case management and free advice about the situation. The most common letters and requests you receive may have to do with IMEs, IREs, Labor Market Surveys and Vocational Evaluations.

These could be vital to the success of your workers’ compensation case. If you understand the right thing to do when you receive a request for these things, you can either comply with or fight them. An unfavorable outcome in any of these circumstances could lead to your benefits getting cut or you being forced to take a job you do not want, just to save your employer money.

We want you to get the money and time you are entitled to from your employer. Going back to work too early, just to appease an insurance evaluator, could cause you long-term damage. It won’t help your employer any, either, despite what they may believe. Navigating these tricky waters requires the advice and guidance of a PA workers’ compensation attorney you can trust. Let us walk you through the best responses to these situations.   

WHAT ARE INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMS (IMES)?

If you’re receiving workers’ compensation, you may be asked to attend an independent medical exam (IME) in Pennsylvania. Don’t let the name fool you. This is an exam paid for and requested by the workers’ compensation insurance company. The information compiled by the doctor (who’s chosen by the insurer) is sent to the insurance company, and you usually don’t get a copy.

WHY WOULD I NEED AN INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAM IN PENNSYLVANIA?

In some cases, an independent medical exam in PA is requested because there are questions about medical treatment. In other cases, the insurer uses the results to claim you can do more work than your own doctor is recommending is safe. If you have been asked to attend an independent medical exam in PA, contact My Comp Lawyers. Our attorneys can prepare you at no cost.

What Are Labor Market Surveys?

If you’ve been cleared to return to work by a doctor, you will receive a labor market survey. This is a report compiled by a vocational expert chosen by the workers’ compensation insurance company. The labor market survey in Pennsylvania lists the available jobs in your area that fit your injury’s limitations and your skills. This report is supposed to get you searching for a job again. The insurer can also use the labor market survey to reduce or stop benefits by “proving” that there are good-paying jobs available for a worker.

As part of the labor market survey process, you will be asked to attend a vocational evaluation in Pennsylvania, which is sometimes known as a vocational interview. In a vocational evaluation, a PA vocational expert chosen by the insurance company will ask you questions before compiling a market survey report. Make no mistake — what you say could affect your future benefits.

The labor market survey is highly problematic. For one thing, there’s no guarantee you will get any of these jobs, especially if you are still injured. Secondly, the insurer only considers the injuries their doctor acknowledges. If your doctor feels you’re more injured, you may genuinely be advised not to take a specific position. Thirdly, the “opportunities” compiled this way may not be opportunities in your field or jobs you want to take. A vocational expert may decide that even though you’re injured, you’re a highly-skilled worker. For example, you “can” work all night as a security person or for hours at a call center.

WHAT HAPPENS AT A VOCATIONAL EVALUATION?

As part of the labor market survey process, you will be asked to attend a vocational evaluation in Pennsylvania, which is sometimes known as a vocational interview. In a vocational evaluation, a PA vocational expert chosen by the insurance company will ask you questions before compiling a market survey report. Make no mistake — what you say could affect your future benefits.

WHY IS A MARKET SURVEY SO TROUBLING?

The labor market survey is highly problematic. For one thing, there’s no guarantee you will get any of these jobs, especially if you are still injured. Secondly, the insurer only considers the injuries their doctor acknowledges. If your doctor feels you’re more injured, you may genuinely be advised not to take a specific position. Thirdly, the “opportunities” compiled this way may not be opportunities in your field or jobs you want to take.

COULD I BE FORCED TO TAKE THAT JOB AFTER MEETING WITH A VOCATIONAL EXPERT?

A vocational expert may decide that even though you’re injured, you’re a highly skilled worker. For example, you “can” work all night as a security person or for hours at a call center.

What is an IRE?

Impairment Rating Evaluations were recently deemed unconstitutional by the PA Supreme Court. If your benefits were stopped because of an IRE you attended. Call My Comp Lawyers immediately!

HOW CAN A PA COMPENSATION LAWYER HELP YOU GET READY FOR AN INTERVIEW WITH A VOCATIONAL EXPERT?

If you’ve been asked to attend an interview with a vocational expert, we can prepare you for the interview and be there with you during the interview to protect your rights. If the insurer uses a labor market survey to try to cut off or reduce your benefits, we can respond to that litigation and seek to maintain your benefits. Contact My Comp Lawyer today to protect your workers’ compensation benefits and your rights.

Every step of the way, our goal at My Comp Lawyer is to help you get the benefits you deserve under Pennsylvania law. If you’ve been injured in Pennsylvania, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for advice, guidance and other forms of support relating to your case.