What is an Independent Medical Examination (IME) and do I have to Attend it?
An independent medical examination is not exactly what it is called. In fact, it is an adverse medical examination. This is where the insurance company has your injuries evaluated by an independent doctor who is typically seeking to limit your benefits.
Why am I being asked to go to the adverse or independent medical examination?
In cases of work-related injuries, the insurance company has a right to request that you be examined by a doctor of their choosing to determine the extent and validity of your injuries. This doctor who is examining you is not your treating doctor and is only doing so for the insurance company. Their bill will be paid by the insurance company. Again, they will not be treating you nor are they obligated to tell you what their findings and recommendations are at the time of your examination. Sometimes these appointments can be cold and unfriendly as the doctors are unwilling to provide much information, if any at all. Obviously, this is very different than our typical experience with doctors and physicians. Please keep in mind that it is fine for you to be slightly apprehensive, but it is imperative that you cooperate and be truthful with the doctor.
What will happen at the examination?
In my experience, most of my clients spend more time in the waiting room than actually with the doctor. Regardless, the doctor will look to ask you questions concerning how you were hurt, your medical history, your medical treatment and how you are feeling. It is important that you are honest with the doctor but make sure you have thought about the question before you answer it. It may be a good day but you had pain the day before, so it is important that you state with specificity when and how long you have had symptoms.
The doctor will also be doing an examination. It is important that you tell the doctor where you are having pain and problems.
Please keep in mind that during the examination that you do not have to volunteer any information. You do not need to discuss settlement of your case as that has nothing to do with your examination.
Who should I speak with prior to my adverse independent medical examination?
Often times it would be in your best interest to speak with a lawyer. There may be special information or advice that the attorney may have for you.
If you wish to discuss your workers’ compensation case or if you have been denied by workers’ compensation, please feel free to contact the Law Office of Thomas D. Mottaz.