What Every Employee Needs to Know About IMEsSeptember 11, 2017
When a worker files a Workers’ Compensation claim after being injured on the job, the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance company can require the injured employee to attend an Independent Medical Exam, or IME, with a doctor who has been selected by the insurance company. If the worker fails to attend the IME, their claim can be denied and all Workers’ Compensation benefits will stop, including, but not limited to disability benefits, medical care, prescription medication, surgical procedures, and physical therapy. The following information will provide you with everything you need to know about IME’s in the event that you are injured at work.
The Purpose of an IME
The insurance company hires a doctor to perform an IME to confirm your personal physician’s diagnosis. They are legally allowed to determine whether your care is directly related to the workplace accident and medically necessary to your recovery. However, it is important to realize that not all doctors hired by insurance companies have the same ethical standards as others. For doctors who are more concerned about financial gains than they are about providing honest medical care, it is in their best interest to minimize the medical care costs that the insurance carrier is responsible for paying. They can do this by denying the employee’s claim that the injury was caused by their job, or by disagreeing with the employee’s personal physician’s recommendation for additional costly medical care.
Fortunately, there are reputable doctors that have high ethical standards that will provide a fair and independent assessment of an employee’s injuries. In some cases, an IME offers a second set of eyes on the employee’s injury and the best course of treatment.
Do Not Skip Your IME
Attending an IME is mandatory, and must be taken seriously. If you do not attend your IME, your current and future benefits will stop. In addition, if you continue to move forward with your case, the Workers’ Compensation Commission will likely rule against you in a hearing.
You will receive a reimbursement from your Workers’ Compensation carrier for any travel expenses you incur on your way to the appointment. In addition, if you are not paid as a result of complying with the scheduled examination, your employer must reimburse you for your lost wages.
How to Prepare for Your IME
Prior to your appointment, make some notes about your injury, including location, intensity of the pain, and any physical limitations you may be experiencing. Be honest and thorough when you answer the doctor’s questions. Be aware that doctors can tell if you are exaggerating or lying about your injury, so do not be tempted to make the injury sound worse than it is. Do not go to the other extreme and say everything is fine if it is not. This will not help your case.
Baltimore Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Injured Workers Navigate the Claims Process
If you have been injured on the job and you are pursuing a Workers’ Compensation claim, the Baltimore Workers’ Compensation lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are on your side. We will ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire process, including the IME. Our experienced team will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, do not hesitate to call us at 844-556-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.