Insights Into How Our Legal System Works

Insights Into How Our Legal System Works

What To Know About Your Independent Medical Examination

by Yolanda Lane

If you have been receiving workers' comp benefits for some time and you still have been unable to return to work, you may be asked to undergo a special type of medical exam, an independent medical examination (IME). The outcome of this exam could greatly influence your ability to get more workers' comp benefits, so understanding what will happen and being prepared is vital. Read on to learn more about your IME.

Conducting Yourself at the IME

You must keep in mind that this is not an ordinary exam; this doctor works under contract with the workers' comp insurance agency and there is not the usual doctor-patient confidentiality. Moreover, you will not receive any treatments or prescriptions as a result of this exam. Use these tips:

1. You should answer any questions asked the doctor succinctly; don't ramble on or give unasked-for information.

2. Your exam will focus on the body part that is affecting your inability to return to work. The doctor will spend quite a bit of time manipulating that body part, testing range of motion and your discomfort and pain level.

3. Be sure to express how the injury continues to affect not only your ability to work at your job, but your life in general. For example, express how much pain you are in when you try to play catch will your child as well as how that injury affects your job duties.

4. Don't hesitate to point out any preexisting medical conditions or injuries that were worsened by the new workplace injury. This type of situation is covered by workers' comp.

5. Have your notes and paperwork relating to the injury handy and don't be shy about referring back to any treatments, reports, tests, and more if needed to answer a question.

The IME Report

You can expect to receive a copy of the IME doctor's findings a few weeks after the exam. This report normally includes information about:

  • Your medical condition.
  • The likely cause of that condition (work related or not).
  • How much impairment you are experiencing (as a percentage, such as 75% impairment).
  • Whether you should be able to return to work at this time or not.
  • Instructions on returning to work and any restrictions.
  • Whether you need more time to recover from your injury.
  • Whether or not you have a permanent injury and will never be able to return to your previous job.

The request for you to undergo an IME should signal that your workers' comp claim is in jeopardy or that you are looking at a permanent injury. Be sure to speak to a workers' comp attorney, such as those at Lovett Schefrin Harnett, right away and get some assistance with your claim and any settlement negotiations.


About Me

Insights Into How Our Legal System Works

Hello, I'm Christina Miller. Have you ever been fascinated with why the law works the way it does? Ever since I was in junior high, I had an intense interest in anything related to our legal system, whether it be a crime drama on television, a judge show or a legal case covered on the news. I followed it all. As time progressed, I began learning about how the actual legal system worked and not just the fictionalized version of our legal system. This has lead me to start writing my own blog posts about law that I hope will help others.