Here is a question from a reader about payment for travel to and from a doctor’s office for medical care following a work-related accident in the Chicago area:
I’ve been off work for three months. I fell while doing my job. I have been paying for my transportation back and forth to doctors’ offices. I now have restrictions at work in place and need to go to physical therapy every day which is 19 miles away from my home. should. I was told by my claims adjuster that I don’t get paid for my travel time and expense. Is that true?
The short answer is that generally speaking, unless you have to travel a long way to a doctor or other medical provider, you don’t get paid mileage for your visits. Now in a rural area, 19 miles is nothing. In the Chicago area, 19 miles could mean an hour and a half depending on where you are going.
So the next question becomes, why does he have to travel 19 miles? Why isn’t there someone closer? And how long does the trip take?
If it’s taking him 30-45 minutes, he’s likely not owed anything. If he’s going from the far suburbs to downtown because that’s the only possible provider for him, he might. If the employer or insurance company directed him to go to the medical provider, he should be paid for his travel time and mileage.
Another potential issue is does his injury prevent him from driving or put him at risk when driving? Some injuries limit how far you can drive without a break. Some require medication which means you can’t drive at all. In those situations, the insurance company would likely have to pay for a Lyft, Uber, taxi, etc. to transport you to and from your medical provider.
In one case years ago, an injured worker not only couldn’t drive, but needed to be able to adjust positions including laying down when needed. In that case, the insurance company actually provided a limousine so the worker could get the care that they needed.
Finally, if the insurance company wants to send you for an independent medical examination (IME), not only do they have to provide your travel expenses in advance of the appointment, but if they don’t you do not have to attend the exam at all.
The bottom line is that in most cases you do not get paid for going to or from your doctor under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, but every case is different so you should at least discuss it. If you want a free, no-commitment consultation, please contact us any time.