What is an Independent Medical Examination for Workers’ Compensation?

Summary

  • Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that protects the finances of injured workers.
  • During your workers’ compensation claim, your employer’s insurance provider may request an independent medical examination to verify what you’re saying.
  • These are supposed to be neutral and impartial, but the doctors are selected by your employer or their insurance company.
  • A workers’ compensation attorney can make sure the independent medical examination is carried out in a fair and unbiased way.

If you’ve been injured on the job, one of your best options is utilizing workers’ compensation benefits to cover your medical bills and lost wages. Over the course of the claims process, you may find yourself required to take an independent medical examination.

A workers’ compensation attorney can help walk you through all the steps necessary to receive full and fair compensation. To learn more, please contact us online or at (800) 320-HELP.

Workers’ Compensation Basics

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance designed to keep injured workers financially protected.

  • Workers’ comp benefits include medical coverage, wage replacement, disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits
  • Workers’ compensation insurance is paid for by your employer, and most companies are required to carry it
  • If you are injured at work or because of work, you are eligible
  • If your benefits are denied, you can appeal

What is an Independent Medical Examination?

An independent medical examination, or IME, is “an objective evaluation of the injured employee’s medical condition.”

You may think “independent” means neutral, but that’s not necessarily the case–according to Florida law, the independent medical examiner is selected by your employer or their insurance carrier.

When is an IME ordered?

An IME is unusually ordered when there’s some kind of dispute or uncertainty about your claim from your employer or their insurance carrier. These can include:

  • Disputing the cause of your injury
  • Disputing the severity of your injury
  • Disagreeing over recommended treatment plans
  • Establishing a permanent disability rating
  • Evaluating your ability to return to work

If an IME has been requested by your employer or their insurance carrier, you typically cannot refuse without putting your benefits at risk.

What to Expect From the IME Process

The independent medical examination will typically follow a few basic steps.

  • There will be a pre-exam documentation review by the doctor, catching up on what has happened in the case so far.
  • Next, you will undergo an in-person physical examination by the doctor, along with a discussion of your medical history.
  • If necessary, you may undergo further diagnostic tests.
  • After the completion of the exam, the doctor will compile their findings and conclusions into an IME report.

To prepare for your independent medical examination, make sure to gather all relevant medical records, make a list of your symptoms, and practice explaining your condition clearly and concisely.

Consider consulting with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for additional guidance.Doctor performing blood pressure test on patient

Your Rights During an IME

It may feel like your employer and their insurance company are in control during the IME process, but you have some rights that must be respected.

These rights include:

  • You will not be required to pay for the examination
  • You will receive a full copy of the IME report
  • Your employer and their insurance carrier cannot request another IME if they don’t like the results
  • You can review anything the IME doctor reports to the insurance carrier
  • You can submit corrections to any factual mistakes in the IME report
  • You do not have to drive or otherwise travel a long distance to an IME doctor’s office
  • Your attorney can attend the examination with you

One important detail to keep in mind: unlike a regular doctor visit, you will not have doctor/patient confidentiality. Anything that comes up during the IME can be submitted to the insurance carrier and used in court.

Potential Outcomes

The results of the independent medical examination can make a big difference in your case, either supporting or contradicting your claims. This can influence:

  • What treatment is covered by workers’ compensation benefits
  • What potential disability rating you may be assigned, which affects long-term disability benefits
  • How any future legal disputes or court proceedings may be resolved

If you have concerns about your upcoming IME, or if you believe the results aren’t accurate, consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer right away.

Consult With the Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

Workers’ compensation can be a lifeline for injured workers, but dealing with complicated legal proceedings like an independent medical examination can be a nightmare. You deserve to have someone in your corner, making sure your rights are protected.

The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia bring skills, knowledge, and compassion to the table. We know what you’re going through, and we know how to help.

To learn more about how we can help or to schedule a free case evaluation, please contact us online or at (800) 320-HELP.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is workers’ compensation?

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance coverage held by employers that covers injuries and illnesses suffered by employees while performing work tasks.

Who is eligible for workers’ compensation?

As long as you’re an employee (not contract or freelance) of a company, you likely will be able to use workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, small businesses may not be required to carry this insurance.

How much compensation can I receive?

The compensation that you receive depends on a variety of factors, such as the severity of your injuries and the length of your medical treatment.

What happens if my claim is denied?

If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, our attorneys can help you file an appeal with the insurance company.

No Win, No Fee Commitment

Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is committed to helping you rebuild your life after a hardship. We are not just your legal team—we are your allies, your partners, and your advocates. We will do everything we can to handle your case with compassion and care, and to get you the results you need!

“And for every fight we take on, know this…we are doing everything we can to make sure we win!”

— Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

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About the Author

Adam Werner is a partner and practicing attorney at WHG. He specializes in personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims, and veteran disability benefits. He routinely writes about personal injury and workers comp topics for the Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia blog

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