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What is an Independent Medical Exam? (IME)

A doctor examines a patient as part of an IME or independent medical exam

When you are injured at work and file a workers’ compensation claim, your employer’s insurance company may ask you to attend an IME, or an independent medical exam. If you have a workers’ compensation claim and receive a notice from your employer requesting an IME, you should make sure to consult with an attorney before submitting to the exam. 

Why is my employer requesting an independent medical exam?

The premise of an independent medical exam is that it is an evaluation performed by a medical professional other than the doctor or provider who previously treated you, so that they can evaluate the course of treatment and/or cause of the condition. This seems fine on the surface. However, sometimes an employer’s insurance company may request that a worker submit to an IME as a way to argue that the condition was not caused by work injury or to dispute the evidence being put forth by the treating physician. 

Do I have to go to the independent medical exam?

In most cases, you will need to attend the requested IME in order to proceed with your worker’s compensation claim. Your employer’s insurance company may use the information obtained from the IME to challenge your benefits. However, it’s important that you have a workers’ compensation attorney representing you before you agree to submit to an IME so that you can be prepared.

 

What happens during an IME?

Before your appointment, your medical records and any documentation relevant to your worker’s compensation injury will be sent to the doctor who will perform the IME. The doctor may ask you questions like:

  • Did your work-related injury cause, or just expose or exacerbate your injury?
  • What are your prior medical conditions, if any?
  • Do you need additional treatment that you are not receiving?
  • Are you operating under any work restrictions?
  • Do you have any permanent disability?
  • Have you been recommended for surgery?

After the examination, the doctor will write a report and send it to the insurance company.  You should ask for a copy of the report to review and document any discrepancies. 

What should I do if I get an IME notice?

Call a lawyer right away. While having a workers’ compensation attorney to represent you may not prevent you from having to get an independent medical exam, he or she can push your employer on the reasoning for the request. Your attorney can prepare you for what to expect from the IME and can outline the circumstances under which you may not be obligated to go to the appointment. 

How do I find a workers’ compensation lawyer?

If you are in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania region and need to file a workers’ compensation claim or currently have one open, Georgelis Injury Law Firm is ready to work for you. Trusted members of the Lancaster community, our lawyers are experienced worker’s compensation specialists who earn large settlements for their clients and will guide you through the process. For a free consultation, call 1-800-HURT-NOW.

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