There are some limits to it but the Industrial Commission has a process for an expedited medical hearing. We’re surprised that more lawyers do not take advantage of this. A traditional hearing can easily take a year before there is a decision in the case – when measured from the request for a hearing to when an Opinion and Award is filed by the deputy commissioner. The expedited medical hearings cut that time down to four to six weeks.
An extra benefit of this process is that you are not required to have a mediation before the hearing can take place. Don’t get us wrong. Mediations are an excellent way for a client to better understand what his or her options are. But the scheduling and coordinating calendars can easily take three months. An adjuster shouldn’t be allowed to hold off providing the medication the doctor prescribed for surgery for an extra three months. The Industrial Commission has referred to “adjusters practicing medicine” when the insurance company refuses to go along with the doctor they chose. We don’t believe that your health is like a salad bar where an adjuster should be permitted to pick and choose what treatments fancy her that day.