It’s unfortunate, but few workers’ compensation cases go as smoothly as they should. In an ideal world you would, after an injury, get looked at by a doctor, start treatment, and get covered for the costs. All too often, however, there are disputes and insurance companies use medical exam results to try and avoid paying out the full amount to which you are entitled. When this happens, you need an ally to put them in their place. Learn why, after your independent medical exam, a workers’ comp attorney can ensure that it helps, rather than harms, your insurance claim.
The Independent Medical Exam
An IME, or independent medical exam, is a doctor’s appointment with the goal of covering any questions about your current condition. It is designed to determine or confirm the necessary treatment, how permanent or long-term your impairment may be, and what steps are reasonable to take in treatment. Insurance companies often demand these take place if they wish to challenge a part of your workers’ compensation claim.
Theoretically, the exam is supposed to be objective and unbiased, but all too often, it’s conducted by a doctor chosen by the insurance company. Likewise, very often that doctor will find in favor of the insurance company’s stance.
During the IME
The IME doctor, once selected, will receive your medical records and any documentation regarding the current claim. The doctor may review these documents at any time, before or after the exam. The insurance company may have specific questions or they may seek an overall opinion from the doctor. The exam will likely begin with a conversation about your injury and possible treatment options. It will then be followed by a physical exam focusing on the areas of discomfort or disability. The IME will then write a report and send it to all involved.
It’s important to note that an IME carries no expectation of patient-physician privilege. The doctor can report any results or observations they note, either in the course of the examination, or as you’re arriving or leaving the office.
How a Workers’ Comp Attorney Can Help
If you’ve been requested to have an IME, you should immediately contact a qualified attorney who handles workers’ comp cases. Since the insurance company is attempting to challenge part of your claim, you need someone in your corner who can defend against this challenge. The workers’ comp attorney has a great deal of experience and expertise handling challenged claims, and knows exactly how to refute the insurance company’s efforts to pay out less money than you are owed.
If nothing else, you can be sure that the insurance company has attorneys of its own, and you’re already under enough stress. Why suffer more emotional turmoil that can interfere with your recovery? Let an attorney take care of the tricky parts so you can focus on getting better. For more information, check out our workers’ compensation services and call us for an evaluation of your case today.