What is an independent medical examination?
If you were injured while at work, you may be required to get an independent medical examination (IME) to affirm the seriousness of your injury. The physician’s treatment recommendation will also be taken into consideration by the workers compensation board should you file a claim.
A doctor who is approved by the workers compensation board will perform your IME. It’s standard for the board to request you to see their physician for an exam. An IME may also be requested by you if you do not agree with the assessment of the first board-approved physician who examined your injury.
Preparation for the Examination
The physician who performs the IME is expected to be professional and neutral, but not all adhere to these expectations. In fact, some make an effort to disprove workers’ injuries in order that the worker’s employer or insurance company, who is also paying the physician, does not have to approve the claim. For this reason, you may wish to have a trusted person with you as your witness. The IME physician will likely ask you about the accident that resulted in your injury. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
- How did the accident happen?
- When did it occur?
- What, if any, treatment have you received for your injury?
- How much time have you had to take off from work?
- What are your physical limitations as a result of the injury?
During the Examination
During the IME, it’s important to remember that anything you say can be used against you to deny your workers compensation claim. However, it’s also important to be truthful. If you work with a worker’s compensation lawyer, he or she can provide guidance as to what information is reasonable for you to provide the physician.
- When asked about the circumstances of the accident that caused your injury, stick to only the relevant facts.
- Request copies of the physician’s notes and other documentation such as x-rays, blood test results, and other diagnostics as well as treatment recommendations.
- Remember that if necessary, you can get a second opinion. Talk to a Workers Compensation Lawyer about your options for seeking an additional examination by another doctor. Your attorney may be able to petition the workers compensation board to accept a non-approved physician’s assessment of your injury.
If you were injured while at work, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced workers compensation lawyer to protect your rights.