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What Is An Independent Medical Exam?

By Author: azworkcomp
Total Articles: 9

Many workers who get injured on the job want to know why they need to undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME). The answer is because the Workers’ Compensation law requires you to do so. If you do not attend the IME, your employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company can refuse to pay for lost wages and/or medical treatment. Even if you later agree to go to the IME, you will have to wait on a hearing, to reclaim your benefits. This process takes 3-6 months. So, it is best you attend the IME.

What Is an IME?
An IME or Independent Medical Exam is an examination by the workers’ compensation insurance company with the doctor of their choice. An IME is not a second opinion.

The workers’ compensation carrier can only schedule one IME per year, per specialty, without the Commission’s permission. So, if you have an IME with an orthopedic doctor in January, the workers’ compensation insurance carrier cannot schedule you for another IME with an orthopedic doctor until the next January. However, you can have an IME with an orthopedic specialist in January, and then a neurosurgeon in June, even if they are both back specialists, because the medical specialties are different.

You do not need to do much
While the workers’ compensation law requires you to attend the IME and answer questions for the doctor, it does not force you to do anything more. The IME is being done at the insurance carrier’s request, not yours, so you are not required to bring any records, reports or other documents other than your identification. If the IME doctor needs to look at diagnostic testing results, they can get what is needed from the Carrier. All you should do is answer the doctor’s questions honestly, and be polite.

The IME Doctor isn’t required to give you their opinion
The IME doctor is not your treating physician, so s/he is not required to tell you their opinions. In fact, the IME doctor is not even required to prepare a report. If the doctor doesn’t say what the insurance carrier wants them to say, the carrier will not ask for a report. Your attorney can use this to your advantage.

A Workers’ Compensation Attorney can help you
If you have an IME coming up, it is best to tell your attorney as soon as possible. The workers’ compensation carrier may or may not do so. If s/he knows about the IME, your attorney can prepare for the next steps, such as sending a copy of the IME report to your treating physician to determine whether the treating doctor agrees with the IME doctor’s opinions. Usually, the treating physician’s opinion matters more than the IME doctor’s opinion.

To consult the best Phoenix workers compensation attorney, call Arizona Injury Law Group at 602-346-9009. Arizona Injury Law Group PLLC offers workers’ compensation legal services, helps injured workers seek benefits and justice and a voice standing up for you!

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