One of the issues with Medical/Legal examinations is how much to advance to the applicant for reasonable medical costs. These costs include mileage, and where indicated, meals lodging, miscellaneous expenses and possibly Temporary Disability (TD). The controlling sections are:
Labor Code section 4600(e)(1): when submitting to an examination, the employee “shall be entitled to… reasonable expenses of transportation, meals, and lodging incident to reporting for the examination, together with one day of temporary disability for each day of wages lost in submitting to the examination.”
Labor Code section 4600(2): regardless of date of injury, “reasonable expenses of transportation” includes mileage fees from the employee’s home and back [at the rate pursuant to section 19820 of the Government Code]. The mileage shall be paid to the employee at the time he is given notification of the time and place of the examination.”
Obviously, one day of TD would not be paid to someone who is already on TD or is not working. Meals and lodging depend on the distance traveled and the time of the examination. Always insist on receipts for costs incurred.
Another consideration is the type of injury involved. For instance, a Fresno applicant with an allegation of lumbar spine injury may have higher subjective symptoms if he drove straight from Fresno to say, Los Angeles, for an AME evaluation that was set for 9:00 AM, than if the applicant stayed the night in the area. Again, this is a case by case determination.
Unfortunately, the estimated mileage evaluation to the has to be paid in advance of the evaluation, per Labor Code section 4600(2). For 2013, the mileage rate is $0.565 per mile. Since the amount of medical mileage is sometimes in dispute, a recap of previous years mileage rates is included for your reference:
- 07/01/11 – 12/31/12 : $.555 (55.5 cents) per mile
- 01/01/11 – 06/30/11: $.51 (51 cents) per mile
- 2010: $.50 (50 cents) per mile
- 2009: $.55 (55 cents) per mile
- 2008: $.485 (48.5 cents) per mile