If you are filing a workers’ compensation case, sometimes there may be a dispute about your medical condition, and the insurance company, hearing officer or judge may ask for you to undergo an IME—or independent medical examination. Most often the insurance company chooses the doctor, and the IME will be used as evidence in your hearing to determine the degree of your disability and how much workers’ comp benefits you should receive.
There are many reasons why you should choose to hire a workers’ compensation attorney after the insurance company involved in your workers’ comp claim asks you to undergo a medical exam. Take a look at these reasons in detail below.
The Insurance Company Chooses the IME Doctor
Your treating doctor will have already evaluated your injury and determined a treatment plan and estimated period of time needed for recovery. An IME is requested if some party involved in your case disagrees with your doctor’s assessment, though it should still be an objective medical evaluation meant to examine the extent of your injury after being hurt on the job. It will evaluate your current medical condition, the treatment you need, how long you will be out of work and whether or not you will be able to work again in the future.
However, if the insurance company is the one requesting your IME, it will also be in charge of choosing the doctor. These doctors are paid by insurance companies and depend on them for referrals; it is often in their best interest to downplay the impact of your injuries in order to lower the scope of your workers’ comp benefits so that they remain in good standing with the insurance company.
A workers’ comp attorney can help your case if the insurance company is challenging your doctor’s opinion. This is more likely to happen in the case of a serious injury that will put you out of work for a while and require much in the way of medical bills. Hiring a workers’ compensation attorney is vital for the financial safety of you and your family.
It’s Hard to Dispute IME Results
The IME doctor’s result is viewed as an expert opinion in the courtroom, making it hard to dispute the outcome, which will likely be in the insurance company’s favor. They are also seen as objective because these doctors are not directly involved in your treatment and don’t necessarily have your best interest in mind.
However, in some cases, their results can be challenged. For example, the doctor’s opinion may be based on medical history information about you that is incorrect. A workers’ compensation attorney can help you dispute false claims made by the IME doctor during your court case. Your attorney can help by filing objections to your workers’ compensation limitation or move to request further examination if you dispute the doctor’s results.