How Can I Get My Employer to Pay for an MRI?

by B
(Atlanta, GA)

I was using an electric pallet jack and the machine surged backwards, pinning my upper arm next to a beam and piece of steel. The emergency button did not work and I was pinned approximately 8 minutes until someone found me, then an additional 3 or 4 minutes until the machine could be moved enough to release my arm.

It's been 10 days and I still have numbness in 2 fingers and my thumb. I went to some country backwoods emergency room that my employer took me to and only received an x-ray, and then had a follow up appt at an urgent care clinic.

I want an MRI to see how bad the muscle was damaged and also to determine the severity of nerve damage, and to check for any blood clots or vascular damage that may be present. How can I make my employer provide this test?

This is really making me upset and angry but I do not want to make my employer mad and treat me badly. This happened at a very large corporation. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "How Can I Get My Employer to Pay for an MRI?":

B (Atlanta, GA):

If your employer is a large corporation it's likely they carry Workmans Compensation Insurance. Presuming they do, you should take advantage of the rules and regulations as they relate to employee injuries. You can never force your employer to approve and pay for medical tests. Instead, work through your employer’s insurance company.

Your employer should have a designated Workmans Compensation contact. Often the name and telephone number of of the insurance company and its representative are posted prominently in employee work areas. Contact the insurance company. Then request the names and addresses of their approved doctors.

Consult with the doctor. If she determines an MRI is necessary she will order one. Although it's true the approved doctors are normally hand picked by the employer’s insurance company, you should still be treated properly.

If you aren’t satisfied with the first doctor, you have the right to see another approved doctor. If the doctor decides you are unfit to work she will inform the insurance company who will in turn notify the employer. During your treatment and recovery you should receive a portion of your salary, usually 2/3rds.

It's unlikely your employer will be upset with you. The doctors seeing you are the same ones your employer approved. So if their doctor, who by default becomes your doctor, makes a diagnosis which includes an MRI, CAT Scan, or other test, they shouldn’t complain.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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