What an Independent Medical Exam Means for Your Work Comp Case
Workers' Comp and The Doctor
In a work comp case, you may find that your treating doctor isn’t the only physician involved with your case. An insurance company will often schedule you for an appointment with an Independent Medical Examiner (IME). This exam is conducted by a doctor hired by the insurance company. Since the insurance company is paying for your medical care, they have a legal right to make sure that your treatment is necessary and related to work injury.
However, it is important to remember that the report from the examiner is also going to be used as evidence in your workers’ comp claim. If the IME disputes the treatment you are receiving, that report might be used against you. That doctor does not have your best interests at heart, because he or she works for the insurance company.
The insurance company might send you to an IME from the beginning of your claim, or if they want to challenge a request from your treating doctor, like an MRI or surgery. Additionally, you might be sent to an IME - by your attorney or by the insurance company - at the end of your workers’ comp claim to establish a permanent disability rating.
It is important to remember that the insurance company doctor is not on your side. You can help your case by doing the following:
Remember that you are being observed. Everything from how you dress to how you get out of the car and how you sat in the chair will be documented by the IME. Arrive on time and dress neatly.
Bring a friend or family member. They can take notes on what time the exam starts and ends, the questions the doctor asks about your medical history, what tests they performed, etc. Sometimes during a complicated exam, it’s difficult to remember everything that happened, so having someone there with you can help. Additionally, you will have a witness to the examination.
Be truthful and brief. Don’t exaggerate or fake any injuries as part of the exam. Make sure you tell the story about how you were injured the same way every time. Also report your treatment history the same way every time. That way the insurance company can’t use any inconsistencies against you.
If you have a workers’ comp case, you should have an attorney to represent you and look out for your interests. Call us today at 816-842-7100 to speak with an attorney and schedule your free consultation. Or you can click here to email us.
We take all injury cases on a contingency basis, which means that we don’t get paid unless we win the case for you, and our lawyers are licensed in both Missouri and Kansas.