If you get hurt at work and have a claim for workers’ compensation, then you may be asked to complete an independent medical examination. This independent medical examination will take place with a doctor selected by your employer or insurer. The purpose of this examination, on paper, is to make sure that what your doctors have said lines up with what the independent examiner believes as well.
Your company or the workers’ compensation insurance provider may schedule the IME for you. If they do, then you need to know what to say or do when you are at this appointment. You should also know your rights in relationship with what this appointment discovers.
Should you get to know more about the independent exam before going?
Yes. You should look into the independent examination more before you go. Why? The doctor performing the examination is paid by the insurance company. The insurance company and your employer may be trying to identify ways to avoid paying you more workers’ compensation benefits.
Unfortunately, the opinion given by this doctor may not be in your favor. That means that your case for compensation could be threatened. The doctor doesn’t have a doctor-patient relationship with you, either, which means that you could end up having what you believe to be confidential information shared with others.
They likely will not give you advice on further treatment for your injuries, either, since this examination is for the purpose of determining the cause, nature and extent of your injuries.
A doctor’s opinion does matter in your case
A doctor’s opinion matters significantly for your case and could influence your benefits. If the doctor claims that these injuries aren’t related to your job, then you could even have your benefits threatened or discontinued completely.
It’s important to know your legal rights when you go to this appointment and that you understand how this doctor’s opinion at an IME could influence your case. You deserve to be treated fairly if you’ve suffered an injury as a result of your job, but this is one way in which you could be misled or unfairly taken off benefits.