When you are injured and decide to seek workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim, you may be required to undergo an independent medical exam (IME). Independent medical exams are medical examinations scheduled by employers, their insurance providers, or other third-party administrators to evaluate claimants.
These exams are meant to aid in the development of an objective portrait of the claimant’s injury and current condition, which directly play into the settlement the insurer offers to the claimant. Usually, these exams are performed by doctors from the employers’ lists of approved physicians.
In actuality, these exams are meant to support the insurance provider’s side of your claim. The doctors on your employer’s list of approved doctors tend to work with the insurance provider and will attempt to minimize the extent of your injury.
DURING YOUR EXAM
There are a few key points to keep in mind about your independent medical exam. They are as follows:
- This doctor will not treat you. He or she is simply examining you to provide a medical opinion about your claim. Because this doctor will not treat your injury, he or she has no legal duty to you, meaning that there is no doctor/patient privilege.
- You may not sue this doctor for the results that he or she finds.
- He or she does not have to share his or her findings with you.
- Be careful with what you tell the doctor, but remain consistent with what you tell each doctor and insurance provider.
The doctor’s main responsibility is to perform a medical examination in accordance with normal protocol. If he or she is found to violate normal protocol or otherwise mishandle or mistreat you, the court may dismiss his or her findings.
TIPS FOR ‘IMEs’
If you are required to undergo an IME as part of the claims process, keep the following tips in mind to support your claim:
- If possible, bring a friend or a relative. If you contest the results of the exam later, he or she can act as a witness to the quality of the exam you received and any discrepancies that arise between your testimony and the insurance providers.
- Ask for a copy of the doctor’s report. You might have to ask the insurance provider for it. Do not discuss your claim until you have reviewed this report with your attorney.
- Contrast the contents of this report with your own doctor’s findings, if applicable.
After your exam, do not interact with the insurance provider further without first discussing the next steps with your attorney. He or she will be able to determine the best way to proceed with your claim and advise you accordingly. You need expert legal representation for every step of the personal injury claim process. Contact The Hurt Boss at 678-806-7715 for your free case evaluation.