What Is an IME, and Do I Need One?
You’ve been injured at work and have spent a lot of time working toward getting better. You’ve attended all doctor and therapy appointments, you’ve had surgery or other procedures, and you’ve taken things easy while you recuperate.
Now your employer’s insurance company is saying you need to have an IME before your case can proceed, and before you can continue to receive your workers’ compensation benefits.
What is an IME, and do you really need to have one done?
What Is an IME?
An IME – independent medical examination – is part of workers’ compensation cases where the insurance company disputes a portion of the care your treating doctor provides. This can be if they question your official diagnosis, whether you need surgery you’re being referred for, or if you’re physically capable of returning to work even though your doctor says you aren’t.
During an IME, you will be thoroughly examined and tested by a doctor who is supposed to be an independent third-party. You may be asked to undergo physical tests such as lifting certain amounts of weight or bending over to pick something off the floor.
After the examination, the doctor writes a report on your condition, status to return to work, and whether you are still eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in that doctor’s opinion.
In most cases, an IME is ordered by your employer’s insurance company. However, they also can be ordered by the judge or hearing officer if there’s a portion of your case that’s been disputed.
Do I Need to Cooperate with an IME?
If you’ve been ordered to submit to an IME, you may wonder if you actually have to show up. After all, you trust your doctor and you know you really are injured, so why should you need to go to another appointment?
If you want to be able to keep your workers’ compensation benefits, you need to comply with an IME if ordered.
In cases where your attorney thinks that an IME is being unjustly ordered, they can attempt to fight the order. However, there’s still a very high chance that you’ll still be required to go to an IME even if your attorney fights it.
It’s best to just show up for the IME and do your best to perform all the tasks to the best of your ability and answer the questions truthfully. If it comes to light that you didn’t perform the way you physically can in the IME or you lied when answering the doctor’s questions, your workers’ compensation case could be in serious jeopardy.
To give you the best chance of maintaining your workers’ compensation benefits, show up to the IME when you’re asked to and cooperate fully with the attorney.
As always, if you have any questions about why you’re being asked to do an IME or any other issues surrounding your case, talk with your attorney.
Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney in Washington, D.C.
When you’ve been hurt at work, you deserve to be fully compensated for your injuries. At Lopez Law Firm, our team works with you to help you get the help you need so all you have to worry about is getting better. Schedule your consultation today!