(a) If an employee is not represented by an attorney, the employer shall not seek agreement with the employee on an agreed medical evaluator, nor shall an agreed medical evaluator prepare the formal medical evaluation on any issues in dispute.
(b) If either party requests a medical evaluation pursuant to Section 4060, 4061, or 4062, either party may submit the form prescribed by the administrative director requesting the medical director to assign a panel of three qualified medical evaluators in accordance with Section 139.2. However, the employer may not submit the form unless the employee has not submitted the form within 10 days after the employer has furnished the form to the employee and requested the employee to submit the form. The party submitting the request form shall designate the specialty of the physicians that will be assigned to the panel.
(c) Within 10 days of the issuance of a panel of qualified medical evaluators, the employee shall select a physician from the panel to prepare a medical evaluation, the employee shall schedule the appointment, and the employee shall inform the employer of the selection and the appointment. If the employee does not inform the employer of the selection within 10 days of the assignment of a panel of qualified medical evaluators, then the employer may select the physician from the panel to prepare a medical evaluation. If the employee informs the employer of the selection within 10 days of the assignment of the panel but has not made the appointment, or if the employer selects the physician pursuant to this subdivision, then the employer shall arrange the appointment. Upon receipt of written notice of the appointment arrangements from the employee, or upon giving the employee notice of an appointment arranged by the employer, the employer shall furnish payment of estimated travel expense.
(d) The evaluator shall give the employee, at the appointment, a brief opportunity to ask questions concerning the evaluation process and the evaluator's background. The unrepresented employee shall then participate in the evaluation as requested by the evaluator unless the employee has good cause to discontinue the evaluation.
For purposes of this subdivision, "good cause" shall include evidence that the evaluator is biased against the employee because of his or her race, sex, national origin, religion, or sexual preference or evidence that the evaluator has requested the employee to submit to an unnecessary medical examination or procedure. If the unrepresented employee declines to proceed with the evaluation, he or she shall have the right to a new panel of three qualified medical evaluators from which to select one to prepare a comprehensive medical evaluation. If the appeals board subsequently determines that the employee did not have good cause to not proceed with the evaluation, the cost of the evaluation shall be deducted from any award the employee obtains.
(e) If an employee has received a comprehensive medical-legal evaluation under this section, and he or she later becomes represented by an attorney, he or she shall not be entitled to an additional evaluation.
(Amended by stats. 2004, Ch. 34, Sec. 16.)