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How far could I travel for a Defense Base Act medical exam?

Injured employees shouldn’t be asked to go out of their way to see the insurance company doctor.

Unfortunately, insurers routinely ask employees to do just that by scheduling a Defense Base Act medical examination a long distance from the employee’s home.

By law, the employee must attend a special medical examination in a place designated by the employer. The law does provide that the place of examination be a “reasonable” distance for the employee to travel, but the definition of “reasonable” can vary widely.

Factors That Can Affect Traveling to a Defense Medical Exam

Employers and insurers know that making a long trek to a medical exam will be difficult for the employee, and often use this to their advantage. If the employee does not attend the exam, he will be barred from receiving benefits, saving the company money. If the employee is able to make the trip outside his geographic area to the doctor’s office, the insurance company can argue that the employee’s injuries must not have been that bad.

There may be a way to avoid traveling long distances to your DBA examination. It is important to consider the following before accepting an examination date:

Method of Travel:

You cannot be asked to travel long distances if doing so would aggravate your injury. If your condition prevents you from traveling in a plane or driving for long periods, the judge in your case may instruct the insurer to choose a location closer to your home.


The insurance company is responsible for paying the costs of your examination, as well as the costs of travel to and from the appointment. Sometimes this is paid in advance, but it can also be reimbursed if the employee fronts the cost. If an employee is under significant financial hardship and the insurance company will not pay travel expenses up front, the employee may be able to appeal to a judge for a closer appointment.

Hiring an attorney: 

If there is not a sufficiently good reason for you to travel to the doctor that the insurer has chosen, your attorney can fight to get the appointment rescheduled for you. Your lawyer can also attend the appointment with you to make sure your rights are respected.


It is vital that claimants have as much information as possible in order to win compensation for their injuries. Click here to read through our free book on DBA claims, DBA Resource Guide.

William Turley
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