What to Do If the Insurance Company Schedules an Independent Medical Examination in a Workers’ Compensation Case
If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim because of a work-related injury or illness, at some point the workers’ compensation insurance company might require you to be examined by a physician of its choice.
This process is referred to as an independent medical examination. If you are required to undergo an independent medical examination (also known as an IME), don’t be alarmed. But do be prepared.
What is an IME?
As the name implies, an IME consists of a second opinion delivered by a physician. The insurance company might require one for any number of reasons. For example, your employer’s insurer might disagree with a physician’s diagnosis about the nature of your work-related injury or illness. Or, more typically, the appointment will be arranged to obtain an opinion as to whether your condition and/or need for treatment is related to your accident or injury.
An IME is not optional. If you fail to attend an IME as requested, you risk having your workers’ compensation benefits terminated or suspended.
If the employer or workers’ compensation insurance company schedules an IME, here’s what you should do:
Before the IME
- Find out what medical records (including any MRIs or X Rays) you will be required to bring with you to the IME.
- Refresh your memory of the events by reviewing your medical records so that the history and account of treatment is consistent with your recollection.
- Notify your attorney if you are working with one.
- Make sure you get compensation for any travel expenses that are necessary to visit the physician. Your employer is required to reimburse you ahead of time for mileage/travel expenses and to reimburse you for lost wages incurred to attend the examination.
During the IME
- Answer questions truthfully. Do not exaggerate symptoms and complaints.
- Do not expect the doctor to answer your questions about his or her conclusions and opinions. The doctor is not obligated to do so because he or she is the respondent’s expert, not yours.
After the IME
- Your attorney will be provided with or obtain a copy of the doctor’s report and should share it with you and discuss the doctor’s conclusions.
- You may want to have the report reviewed by your physician.
- Illinois law does not define the number or frequency of independent medical examinations that can be scheduled.
If you believe you need legal assistance as part of a workers’ compensation claim, it is important that you seek an attorney who possesses experience in this area. Don’t fly solo if you think you need help.
Call Capron & Avgerinos
Call Capron & Avgerinos now at (800) 535-4542 if you need help with a workers’ compensation case in Illinois or Iowa. As your Illinois and Iowa Injury Network, we are ready to assist you over the phone or in person. We perform our cases on a contingent fee basis, which means we are not paid unless you recover compensation for your claim. Call Capron & Avgerinos at (800) 535-4542. Let us show how we can deliver results for you.