If you have just received a notice in the mail about your upcoming independent medical exam, you may wonder why you have to attend. Unfortunately, some injured workers get IMEs without recognizing that the examiners are not there to help them get medical treatment.
What Is an IME?
An independent medical examination (IME) is a medical exam conducted by a doctor hired by the workers’ compensation insurance company. Your IME will happen at a time and place selected by the insurance company. During the appointment, the doctor will do a physical examination of you. The doctor also will discuss your work injury and symptoms. He or she will ask you questions about:
- Your medical history
- How your injury occurred
- Initial symptoms
- Symptoms you currently have
- Treatment you have received
The IME doctor also reviews your medical records, including your treating doctor’s note, X-rays, charts, and other documents. After the appointment, the IME doctor prepares a written report.
What Is the Purpose of an IME?
The insurance company requests an IME to gather evidence against you. For example, the insurance company may suspect that your requests for treatment are unreasonable, that you did not get injured at work, or that you are less injured than your treating doctor has reported. The insurance company hopes to use the IME doctor’s report as a reason to deny you workers’ compensation benefits.
Keep in mind that the IME doctor is paid by the insurance company to examine you. He or she may not be truly “independent”, and the information you give the doctor is not protected by the usual doctor-patient privilege. However, you should still be honest and forthcoming about your injury and medical history. Make sure to tell the doctor if you are feeling pain or cannot perform certain movements.
What Happens After You Receive the IME Doctor’s Report?
After the examining doctor issues the IME report, you may receive an offer of settlement from the insurance company, or the insurer may indicate that it plans to end your benefits. Talk to your lawyer to determine how to proceed from there.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your 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.