On April 7, 2020, the Governor of Louisiana issued Proclamation Number 43 to address various issues related to unemployment and Workers’ Compensation due to the massive amount of office closures currently in our state. Section 3 of the Proclamation suspended statutes specifically relating to Workers’ Compensation cases.
The Proclamation provides that employers cannot seek the scheduling of Independent Medical Examinations (IME) requested from the State. All examinations previously scheduled are now null and shall be rescheduled along with notice reissued to the party in accordance with the statutory requirements. Employers also cannot suspend employee benefits for the failure to attend an IME or a Second Medical Opinion (SMO). Further, employers are not authorized to request a hearing for the purpose of suspending or terminating employee benefits for failure to attend an IME during this restriction.
The provisions in this Proclamation apply retroactively from March 11, 2020 until April 30, 2020. The Governor also extended the suspension of all legal deadlines in Louisiana, including prescription, until April 30, 2020.
As there will be a natural rush to reset missed SMO appointments after this prohibition is lifted, we recommend you attempt to reschedule SMO appointments now, but naturally, they should not be scheduled prior to April 30, 2020. In order to ensure you do not have to absorb a cancellation fee for doctors unaware of the status of the appointments, you should confirm with the doctor, if the employee is unwilling to attend during this time period and cancel and reschedule the appointment.
Allen & Gooch is providing this legal update for informational purposes only. This article should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion as to any specific facts or circumstances. You should consult your own attorney concerning your particular situation and any specific legal questions you may have.