The Independent Medical Examination: What it Is, and Why You’ve Been Asked to Undergo One
You thought your workers’ compensation claim was an open-and-shut case. You followed every instruction to the letter, reported your injury promptly, and are attending every medical appointment. Your employer seemed as though they were on board with your claim, but suddenly, you’re asked to go to an independent medical examination.
What does this mean? Are you in trouble? Is your case at risk? The request to attend an independent medical examination, or IME, can come as a shock to many injured workers. They feel as though their claim is suddenly under siege. While an IME is not a death sentence to your workers’ compensation claim, it is a red flag that something may not be adding up, so it is important that you know more about this process.
Why Were You Asked to Go to an IME?
You have likely been asked to attend an IME because your employer or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier has a question about or disagrees with something in your claim. Common discrepancies that lead to IMEs are:
- The cause of your injury or illness
- The degree to which you have been injured
- Your ability to return to work and the level at which you can perform assigned duties
- The course of treatment you have been given
If the insurance company (or your employer) is unsure of one or more of the details involved in your claim, they may call you in for an IME to verify that your claim is correct.
While this does not necessarily mean that you have done anything wrong, doctors who perform IMEs are often hired by your employers’ insurer. This means that the cards are stacked against you before you even walk in the door. Many times, you (or your attorney) will need to schedule your own IME to discredit the findings of the insurance company’s doctor.
When you’ve been scheduled for an IME, it does not mean that your claim is in immediate danger of being denied, but you need to take this exam seriously, as it could point to potential problems. If you haven’t already, contacting a workers’ compensation attorney at this point in your claim can help ensure that you are aware of your rights throughout the process.
For more information, schedule your free consultation with experienced Texas workers’ compensation attorney Steve Lee today.