Can a Lawyer Be Present During a Physical Examination by the Employer's Doctor ?

In Wolfe v. Workers' Compensation Appeal Board (Edgewater Steel Company), 161 Pa. Commw. 361, 636 A.2d 1293 (Pa. Cmwlth.), appeal denied, 537 Pa. 669, 644 A.2d 1205 (1994), the claimant argued that he had the right to have an attorney present during a physical examination by the employer's doctor. The Court rejected this argument, noting that Section 314(b) specifies the type of individual who may be present. The Court also focused on the purpose of such examinations: The physician's examination is a source of information regarding the employee's disability for the Workers' Compensation Judge (WCJ) to consider when the WCJ makes findings of fact. It is when these facts are presented, and in preparation for the presentation of these facts at deposition and during the hearing, that the adversarial procedure begins. If we were to push the adversarial procedure back to the doctor's office by involving attorneys for both parties in the medical examinations, we would have attorneys objecting and interrupting, and the equivalent of a hearing or deposition taking place during a physical examination. This is not the atmosphere in which a fair and reasonable medical examination can take place. Id. at 1296.