Should I Go See an I.M.E after I am Injured at Work?
In a workers’ compensation case, “IME” is a common term that stands for independent medical examination. This refers to an exam conducted by a doctor other than your own for another opinion about your doctor’s diagnosis and treatment recommendations. Your employer and its insurer will often request an IME if there are doubts or questions about your diagnosis and the medical benefits for which you need coverage. When the workers’ compensation insurance company requests an IME, the reality is that you will need to undergo the exam. If you refuse, the insurer will likely simply deny your claim. However, you should never take the IME process lightly, as it can have a significant effect on your claim and benefits. You should discuss your claim with an experienced Missouri workers’ compensation lawyer if an IME is requested in your case.
When Might an IME be Necessary?
An insurance company might request an IME for many different reasons, such as the following:
- The insurance adjuster disagrees with the medical opinions of your chosen physician and wants to dispute your diagnosis or treatment
- The claim is moving at a slow pace, or the benefits are increasing, and the adjuster is looking for a way to mitigate benefits
- The insurance company is seeking evidence needed to reduce benefits or deny your claim altogether
There is a lot at stake when it comes to an IME, as the wrong report from the doctor can result in the loss of necessary benefits for you.
Protecting Your Rights
An IME is called an “independent” medical professional because they are supposed to be a neutral party in the claim - not on your side or the insurance company’s side. However, it is not realistic to expect the insurance company to select a doctor who is not on their side. The doctor understands that the goal of an IME is to limit benefits, and the more they help the insurance company, the more the insurance company will send business their way. For this reason, it is important to have a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney helping you prepare for the IME and advocating for your rights. Your lawyer can request the records and information the insurance company sends to the IME to ensure it is complete and accurate. They can also tell you what to expect and prepare you for answering the doctor’s questions. Know that your answers in an IME are not confidential as they would be in another type of medical appointment, and the insurance company will receive this information. Therefore, you want to be consistent and accurate with every detail you give during the exam.
Learn How Our Missouri Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Assist You
At The Law Firm of Webster & Carlton, we work with injured workers facing an IME, and we work to ensure your benefits cover all of your necessary medical treatment. Contact us online, or you can call our Joplin office at 417-781-5690 or our Springfield office at 417-890-4600. We are here to help.