Who requests an independent medical exam in a workers’ comp case?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Many Minnesota workers’ compensation claims are straightforward. The worker notifies their employer of their injury or diagnosis. The parties involved in the claim cooperate to execute necessary paperwork, and the worker receives the benefits they need. After treatment and possibly time away from work, they return to their job without complications.

Unfortunately, not all workers’ compensation claims are simple and successful. There are sometimes questions about whether a worker actually has a condition that affects their ability to work. Other times, an employer or their insurance provider may believe that the origin of the injury is something other than an individual’s employment. Sometimes, it is necessary for a worker to undergo an independent medical examination to affirm their condition, its origins and the need for benefits. Who requests and pays for these examinations?

Exams often start with business requests

Both concerned employers and insurance providers theoretically have the option of requesting an independent medical examination as part of a Minnesota workers’ compensation claim. The worker must then present themselves at an appointment where they provide medical records and other key information before undergoing an in-depth functional examination.

The doctor performing the exam may even begin observing someone before they enter the facility to catch warning signs that someone may have faked or exaggerated their symptoms. Workers must be very careful about effectively communicating their circumstances and not masking their symptoms.

Many people intentionally underreport pain symptoms or try to cover up signs of discomfort when performing tasks under direct observation. Doing so can put a worker at a marked disadvantage during an independent medical examination related to workers’ compensation benefits. The more honest and open a worker is about their pain and other symptoms, the less likely they are to face challenges.

Depending on the determination of the independent medical examiner, an employer could deny someone’s claim by asserting that they didn’t get hurt on the job or have already reached the maximum medical improvement possible given their diagnosis. Other times, the goal may be to raise questions about the necessity of certain accommodations to deny payment requests or end someone’s treatment.

Workers may not expect a compensation claim to become adversarial, but that can sometimes occur. Knowing the rules that apply during workers’ compensation claims may help people secure and continue receiving the benefits they deserve for a work-related health challenge.

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