If you are involved in a workers comp case, you may be asked to attend an IME as part of the process. IME stands for ‘Independent Medical Review’, and it is meant to confirm the status of your condition. While that might not seem like a big deal at first, it is important to note that the independent physician in question will be selected by the employer or insurance company. That being the case, many patients over the years have questioned the impartiality of the doctor in this type of situation.
Is the IME Required?
If it is requested, yes, you will need to attend this exam. If you choose not to attend, it is likely that you will lose your workers compensation benefits, which is obviously the outcome you are trying to avoid. Unfortunately, even if you do choose to attend, you may wind up losing your benefits as a result of the examination findings. This is why many who are on workers compensation hope to avoid being asked to attend an IME. So, while you may not want to attend, keeping your workers compensation is the goal and that means showing up for this visit.
What Will Take Place During the Appointment?
It is important to understand that this is not an appointment for medical treatment. Rather, it is simply an exam, where your condition will be evaluated so the doctor can repair a report about whether or not you are capable of returning to work. From your perspective, it is smart to simply be respectful and answer the doctor’s questions as you would during any other visit to a physician. Don’t assume that the doctor is trying to undermine you, or that you need to hide anything in order to keep getting your benefits.
In fact, trying to hide something is one of the worst things that you can do. Be open and honest and relay the experience of your injury and subsequent recovery as accurately as possible. If the doctor feels like you are trying to hide something, or if you are being evasive and combative, you’ll only be harming your own case in the long run.
Contacting a Lawyer
Going through the workers compensation process without someone on your side may be a mistake. Your employer certainly has a legal team to assist them with these matters, and you should think about having one of your own. While it is not necessarily required to have representation, you may have more confidence in the process if you now that someone is looking out for your best interests. In the case of an IME request, you would be able to ask your lawyer any questions you may have, putting your nerves at ease ahead of the appointment.
Being asked to attend an IME does not mean that your workers compensation benefits are going to be taken away. By knowing what to expect, and having proper representation on your side, you can get through this appointment and move forward as quickly as possible.