Independent Medical Examinations
Independent medical exams can help resolve disputes when an injured worker is claiming workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ comp benefits should cover your medical treatments and pay disability income as long as your work-related injuries affect your ability to earn a living. Unfortunately, sometimes disputes can arise regarding whether a medical treatment is needed, how bad an injury is, whether an injury is work-related, and whether an employee can go back to work or not.
Whenever a dispute arises over anything related to your medical condition or health status, an Independent Medical Exam (IME) may be the answer to resolving the issue. Workers may be required to undergo independent medical exams at the behest of the workers’ comp insurer, or may ask for such an exam if they want another professional opinion to clarify how badly they are harmed, or what type of work they should and should not be performing. Understanding what is involved in independent medical exams and how they impact your workers’ comp claim is very important. A Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer at Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC can help workers with the IME process.
What are Independent Medical Exams?
Independent medical exams are performed by a physician other than your normal treating doctor. If a workers’ compensation insurer requests an independent medical examination, the insurer will typically send you to a doctor of its choosing. You also have the right to request an independent medical exam be performed, or you can have your doctor attend the IME with you when you go at the request of the insurer. If an IME is requested by an insurer, you generally must attend in order to continue eligibility for ongoing workers’ compensation benefits.
The purpose of the independent medical exam is to get another opinion, and more information, on your medical condition. The exam can be conducted to determine:
- What further medical treatment may be required
- What, if any, work restrictions may be appropriate
- The extent of your injuries and
- Whether the severity of your injuries justifies continued disability benefits
You should not expect a normal doctor-patient relationship and the results of the IME will be shared with the workers’ compensation insurer and used to help determine benefits eligibility.
Preparing for an Independent Medical Exam
If you are involved in a benefits dispute, an attorney can help you determine if you should request an IME. If the workers’ compensation insurer has requested the independent medical exam, you will have no choice but to attend the exam. You should consult with an attorney, who can explain what to expect, help you understand the purpose of the visit and request paperwork and information provided to the IME doctor by the insurance company so you can check for inaccuracies and ensure the appropriate questions are asked at your appointment. If you believe the doctor is biased in the IME or that the outcome of the exam is not truly reflective of your medical condition, your attorney can also help you fight to prevent loss of access to benefits you believe you deserve.
Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC Can Help
Since the outcome of an IME can impact your workers’ compensation benefits, it is important to consult with an attorney who is familiar with the independent medical exam process. Get help before your exam and assistance dealing with the results from an experienced workers’ comp attorney. Call Brown Moore & Associates, PLLC at 800-948-0577 or contact us online for assistance.