What Is an Independent Medical Examination?

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When you filed a workers’ compensation claim, an independent medical examination will have a big impact on the results of your case. Understanding what an independent medical examination is and what the purpose of this examination serves in your workers’ comp case will help you to better prepare yourself.

Oftentimes, an independent medical examination is only necessary if there’s a dispute from your employer’s workers’ compensation about any of the diagnosis or necessary treatments for your injury. This is why you’ll be asked to go under another medical examination with a different doctor. The results found by the other doctor will determine the outcome of your workers’ compensation case, as well as how much you’ll receive in benefits, if you do receive any benefits at all.

What to Expect During an Independent Medical Examination

Independent medical examinations are great to resolve questions that your employers workers’ compensation ensures about the medical condition that you developed after your workplace injury. These examinations are also highly useful to determine the necessary treatment required to treat the workplace injury you received.

It’s allowed under the workers’ compensation statute. Even though it’s called an independent medical exam, our team at Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law calls it an adverse exam. The reason behind calling it an adverse  exam is because it’s the purpose of litigation. In other words, it’s conducted to defend the employee’s claim so the insurance company is choosing a position that they think will evaluate the employee in a way that’s favorable to them.

You can also get for your lost time and all of the miles you traveled to attend that exam. When you go to the independent medical exam, you want to be completely truthful. At that exam, the doctor will perform a physical exam on you and will review your records. In addition, they will take history from you. However, you don’t want to volunteer information unless the doctor asks. Try your best to answer the questions as accurately as you possibly can.

What Not to Expect

An independent medical examination is not something you need to be afraid of. It’s very important that you make sure you’re able to go to the IME. There’s a penalty you can face for not making the appointment. As an example of the penalties you could face for not making the IME appointment, your case can be suspended or possibly dismissed. While it can be nerve wracking, making sure you show up to the appointment on time will help to strengthen your case significantly. 

In addition, you don’t need to take medical records for that exam. Sometimes, you’ll get insurers that encourage you to gather all of your medical records and take them with you to your exam. However, that’s not the injured worker’s job. Instead, it’s a part of the claim adjuster’s job to make sure that the independent medical examiner has the records that are needed to conduct that evaluation.

One thing you should be prepared for is that the doctor isn’t going to tell you what they think. There is no doctor-patient relationship with an independent medical exam. You will receive a copy right after the exam or IME will mail the report out to your attorney.

How an Independent Medical Examination Affects Your Case

An independent medical exam is a piece of evidence used to support your workers’ compensation case. It’s just a medical expert opinion. It may coincide with your doctor’s opinions, but it likely won’t, because the doctor is working for the insurance company. Don’t get upset if the IME’s findings don’t match what your doctor has found.

Knowing What to Expect at Your IME

You should not be overly paranoid about an independent medical exam. However, these are some of the things you need to be aware of to prepare yourself for an IME. If you’re ready to take the next steps in fighting for your workers’ compensation benefits by participating in an independent medical examination, reach out to Mottaz & Sisk Injury Law today for a case evaluation.