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What Should You Expect During an Independent Medical Examination?

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

What Should You Expect During an Independent Medical Examination?When you file a workers’ compensation claim, your employer or its insurance company can require you to attend an Independent Medical Examination with a third-party doctor. Refusing the IME could result in your claim being terminated and the loss of your benefits. Though it is an independent examination, many claimants fear that the doctor will be biased in his or her findings in order to benefit the employer or insurance company. While many doctors try to be honest and impartial during an IME, some doctors seem dubious in reaching a diagnosis that clearly hurts a workers’ compensation claim.

Possible Conflicts

Insurance companies use an IME to get an unbiased medical opinion about your physical condition, instead of relying on the opinion of your own doctor. The doctor conducting an IME is independent in that he or she is a licensed physician who is not on the staff of your employer or its insurance company. However, the IME physician does have an incentive to give a report that favors the insurance company:

  • Your employer or the insurance company is likely paying for the examination;
  • The insurance company is hoping for an IME report that downplays the severity of your injuries or suggests a cause that is unrelated to work; and
  • Physicians who regularly give favorable reports are more likely to be hired for additional IMEs.

Once again, many doctors have enough integrity that they will not show any bias in diagnosing your condition. Unfortunately, there are some doctors who will be biased towards the insurance company because they know the company will continue to pay for their services.

Your Protection

During an IME, you should not openly assume that the physician will be biased against you. Questioning the physician’s motives will put him or her on the defensive and may create a personal bias that did not previously exist. There are precautions you can take in case you disagree with the IME report:

  • Ask your attorney whether the doctor has any reputation in regards to IMEs;
  • Request for a family member to attend the IME with you but do not mention that it is to have a witness who can testify if needed;
  • Keep track of how long the examination lasted; and
  • Remember the tests that the doctor performed and the questions that he or she asked you.

Fair Compensation

The best defense against a suspicious IME report is a thorough recounting of the facts and solid evidence of your actual condition. A McHenry County workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can prepare you for your IME. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.



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