You just received the independent medical examination report, and the doctor disagrees with your primary treating physician about nearly everything. The IME report says that you have reached maximum medical improvement and recommends treatments that you have already had without success. Or the doctor gave you a completely different disability rating than your doctor. As a result, the doctor says that you have to go back to work. What should you do?
- Follow Your Primary Treating Physician’s Recommendations
Your primary treating physician probably knows your file much better than the IME doctor. IME doctors may review a case file, conduct an IME, and write a report all in the same day or two days. Also, IME doctors do not always have all the treatment records. In contrast, your treating doctor has seen you for multiple appointments over the months since your injury.
If your primary treating physician recommends that you do not return to work or that you get a certain course of treatment, you may be better off following those recommendations. Do not let the insurance company push you back to work before you are ready – you could get injured again. Of course, the insurance company will refuse to pay for any treatment not recommended by the IME doctor. You will have to balance the cost of the treatment against how much you need it.
- Talk to a Lawyer
You need a lawyer who can advocate for the treatment you need. Your lawyer may have to attend a hearing with the workers’ compensation judge to present your doctor’s report and rebut the IME report. This hearing will be a “battle of the experts”. Your lawyer will try to show that your PTP’s opinion is more credible than the IME doctor’s opinion.
Before the hearing, your lawyer may need to take the deposition of the IME doctor. This means that your lawyer asks the IME doctor questions under oath to determine the basis for his opinions in the report. The deposition may reveal that the doctor never even looked at your old medical records and spent only minutes examining you.
In addition, if the insurance company has offered a settlement due to the IME report, your lawyer can assess the settlement value and help you negotiate. Some injured workers do not realize the negative impact that the IME report can have on the insurance companies’ valuation of their cases. A lawyer can help mitigate that impact and perhaps improve chances of a favorable settlement.
Need help contesting the IME doctor’s report on your workplace injury? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.