Once you have been on workers’ compensation for a while, the insurance company is going to want a status update. If your workers’ compensation doctor has determined that you’ve attained maximum medical improvement, your Coral Springs workers’ comp attorney may not agree. The best way to sort this out is for you to undergo an independent medical exam (IME).
This is where a doctor who is not part of your workers’ compensation case will evaluate you privately. Their goal is to resolve any disputes as to your medical condition, treatment, and ability to do your job.
Here, we will discuss what happens during an independent medical examination. We will also explain what happens once your exam is completed. If you disagree with the doctor’s findings, reach out to one of our Coral Springs workers comp attorneys. We can always schedule a date and time for you to come into the office.
If need be, your attorney can arrange for you to have a second independent medical exam with a different doctor. The results of this second exam will be compared to the one arranged by the insurance company.
What Exactly is an Independent Medical Examination?
An independent medical exam is a special doctor’s appointment where you are evaluated by an independent medical professional. Technically, this doctor is supposed to be impartial.
However, many times the IME doctor is chosen by the insurance company. That makes it hard to think they are really impartial. During the exam, the doctor will address whatever issues and questions the insurance adjuster poses to them.
During the examination, the doctor will attempt to do the following:
- Ask you the same question in many different ways to see if you’re lying
- Assess your true pain levels by asking you in various ways
- Ask you questions about your workplace accident
- Ask how your treatment has been so far
- Identify whether further treatment is needed
- Confirm or deny the original diagnosis
- Try to pin your current injuries to a pre-existing condition you may have had
- Determine if you’re truly able to do your job
- Confirm if you have suffered any permanent disabilities
During the course of your independent medical exam, you probably won’t notice what is happening. It’s intrusive enough to have a strange doctor poking and prodding at you. Thankfully, your Coral Springs workers comp attorney will review the exam with a critical eye.
Why Do You Need to Undergo an IME?
The main reason you need to submit to an independent medical exam is to see if you’re ready to go back to work. It is usually ordered once your worker’s compensation doctor has determined that you’ve met maximum medical improvement. It may also be ordered because your Coral Springs workers comp attorney feels that you need additional time before you return to work.
Your Coral Springs Workers’ Comp Attorney Will Review the Instructions to the IME Doctor
Before you undergo your independent medical exam, your Coral Springs will have a copy of the insurance adjuster’s letter. They will have submitted specific questions and concerns to the IME doctor. Your attorney will have the chance to challenge these questions. They can also attempt to have their own questions added to the request.
The real purpose of your lawyer seeing this before your independent medical exam is not to add their own concerns. They want to ensure that the insurance company isn’t leading the doctor. They also want to see what issues the insurance adjuster thinks exist in your claim.
What Kind of Disputes Will Be Addressed at Your Independent Medical Exam?
The reason the doctor is conducting the independent medical exam is to answer or resolve disputes put to them by the insurance company. Very rarely will your Coral Springs workers comp attorney have the chance to pose their own questions. They’ll have to wait until they hire their own independent doctor later in the case to do this.
Some of the issues the doctor will address during your independent medical exam include the following:
- Actual diagnosis versus the one assigned in your case
- Need for additional medical treatment
- Has the treatment already been administered properly?
- Are you able to work? Do you need work modifications?
- Have you suffered any permanent disability?
- Were your injuries actually caused by a workplace accident?
Once the examination is completed, the IME doctor will write their final report. Both the insurance company and your Coral Springs workers comp attorney will get a copy of this report. Your attorney will have a chance to respond to this report. They can also seek out their own independent doctor to evaluate you.
Your Coral Springs Workers’ Comp Attorney Will Challenge the Results if Necessary
Once the report comes back from the independent doctor, your Coral Springs workers’ compensation lawyer will have a chance to review it. If they don’t believe the findings are accurate, or if they think the results are skewed, they’ll challenge it.
You have to remember that the doctor who conducted the independent medical examination is often hired by the insurance company. Odds are, they are going to support whatever findings the insurance adjuster wants them to support.
Unfortunately, your Coral Springs workers comp attorney cannot just come out and accuse the IME doctor of lying. Instead, they would have to find their own independent doctor to do another examination. Depending on what this second doctor finds, your Coral Springs workers comp attorney may need to take further action.
We understand that the cards are stacked against you when you file a workers’ compensation claim. If it isn’t immediately approved, you can expect an uphill battle. However, your Coral Springs workers comp attorney isn’t going to sit back and let the insurance company walk all over you. Instead, they will fight back and try to get you the benefits you deserve.
We offer all injured workers in Coral Springs, Florida a free, initial consultation. We also have locations in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami. If you’re dealing with an independent medical exam and feel that you aren’t being given a fair shake, call our office.