2020 Georgia Code
Title 34 - Labor and Industrial Relations
Chapter 9 - Workers' Compensation
Article 6 - Payment of Compensation
Part 1 - Medical Attention
§ 34-9-202. Examination of Injured Employee; Request for Autopsy; Examination by Physician Designated by Employee

Universal Citation: GA Code § 34-9-202 (2020)
  1. After an injury and as long as he claims compensation, the employee, if so requested by his or her employer, shall submit himself or herself to examination, at reasonable times and places, by a duly qualified physician or surgeon designated and paid by the employer or the board. Such examination may include physical, psychiatric, and psychological examinations.
  2. The employee shall have the right to have present at such examination any duly qualified physician or surgeon provided and paid by him. No fact communicated to or otherwise learned by any physician or surgeon who may have attended or examined the employee or who may have been present at any examination shall be privileged either in hearings provided for by this chapter or in any action at law brought to recover damages against any employer who may have accepted the compensation provisions of this chapter.
  3. If the employee refuses to submit himself to or in any way obstructs such examination requested by and provided for by the employer, his right to compensation and his right to take or prosecute any proceedings under this chapter shall be suspended until such refusal or objection ceases; and no compensation shall at any time be payable for the period of suspension unless in the opinion of the board the circumstances justify the refusal or obstruction.
  4. The employer or the board shall have the right in any case of death to require an autopsy at the expense of the party requesting the same.
  5. Notwithstanding the rights afforded an employee under Code Section 34-9-201, the employee, after an accepted compensable injury and within 120 days of receipt of any income benefits, shall have the right to one examination at a reasonable time and place, within this state or within 50 miles of the employee's residence, by a duly qualified physician or surgeon designated by the employee and to be paid for by the employer. Such examination, of which the employer or insurer shall be notified in writing in advance, shall not repeat any diagnostic procedures which have been performed since the date of the employee's injury unless the costs of such diagnostic procedures which are in excess of $250.00 are paid for by a party other than the employer or the insurer. Such examination may include physical, psychiatric, and psychological examinations.

(Ga. L. 1920, p. 167, § 28; Code 1933, § 114-503; Ga. L. 1990, p. 1409, § 7; Ga. L. 2001, p. 748, § 4; Ga. L. 2007, p. 616, § 4/HB 424.)

Cross references.

- Physical examinations of persons pursuant to civil actions generally, § 9-11-35.

Appointment of physician or surgeon by board to examine employee prior to hearing of claim for workers' compensation, § 34-9-101.

Law reviews.

- For article, "Workers' Compensation," see 53 Mercer L. Rev. 521 (2001). For survey article on workers' compensation law for the period from June 1, 2002 to May 31, 2003, see 55 Mercer L. Rev. 459 (2003). For survey article on workers' compensation law, see 59 Mercer L. Rev. 463 (2007). For article, "The Broken Machine" Mandatory Medical Treatment Under Georgia Workers' Compensation 24 Ga. St. B.J. 19 (Oct. 2018).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

This section provided that the board may require an autopsy by appropriate order and that an employer might require an autopsy by seeking such an order from the board. Employers Mut. Liab. Ins. Co. v. Carson, 100 Ga. App. 409, 111 S.E.2d 918 (1959).

Attorney fees properly awarded.

- Administrative law judge (ALJ) and the Georgia Workers' Compensation Board properly awarded an employer its attorney fees as: (1) the claimant did not appeal the ALJ's decision to require the claimant to submit to an examination, but simply defied it; (2) the blatant defiance of an ALJ order was evidence that the claimant defended the proceedings in part without reasonable grounds; (3) the claimant was not required to defy the order so as to present the claimant's justification for doing so; (4) the claimant had a chance to present the claimant's justification to the ALJ, and failed to reiterate the claimant's position on an appeal to the Board; and (5) the ALJ and the Board had some evidence upon which to base a finding that when the claimant contested the sanctions motion, the claimant did so without reasonable grounds. Goswick v. Murray County Bd. of Educ., 281 Ga. App. 442, 636 S.E.2d 133 (2006), cert. denied, 2007 Ga. LEXIS 102 (Ga. 2007).

Orders remained in force pending appeal in absence of supersedeas order.

- Reviewing court did not err in affirming a refusal by the Georgia Workers' Compensation Board to require an employer to continue making disability payments to a workers' compensation claimant pending the appeal proceedings as in O.C.G.A. § 34-9-202(c), the Georgia legislature decided that supersedeas did not attach pending the appeal of a benefit suspension order based on a refusal to undergo an examination; further the order was analogous to an injunction as the administrative law judge's and the Board's orders did not award monies, but relieved the employer from taking certain actions at any time, and remained in force pending the appeal in the absence of a special order of supersedeas. Goswick v. Murray County Bd. of Educ., 281 Ga. App. 442, 636 S.E.2d 133 (2006), cert. denied, 2007 Ga. LEXIS 102 (Ga. 2007).

Suspension of benefits proper.

- Administrative law judge and the Georgia Workers' Compensation Board properly suspended a workers' compensation claimant's benefits as the claimant refused to submit to an examination of the claimant's treating physician at the request of an employer under O.C.G.A. § 34-9-202(a) and (c) as: (1) § 34-9-202 required the claimant to undergo an examination by "a duly qualified physician or surgeon" or face a suspension of benefits; (2) the treating physician was duly qualified; (3) § 34-9-202 did not require that the examination be done by an "independent" physician; (4) former O.C.G.A. § 34-9-200(c) dealt with the refusal to accept treatment ordered by the Board, which was a different situation; and (5) the version of § 34-9-200(c) set forth after a 2003 amendment and § 34-9-202 authorized the suspension of benefits if a claimant refused to submit to an employer-requested examination. Goswick v. Murray County Bd. of Educ., 281 Ga. App. 442, 636 S.E.2d 133 (2006), cert. denied, 2007 Ga. LEXIS 102 (Ga. 2007).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 82 Am. Jur. 2d, Workers' Compensation, § 546.

C.J.S.

- 100 C.J.S., Workers' Compensation, § 993 et seq. 100A C.J.S. Workers' Compensation, § 1119 et seq.

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