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Understanding the independent medical evaluation

If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, you may need an independent medical exam. These exams are a key part of the workers’ comp process, allowing claims adjusters to obtain an unbiased medical opinion.

There are several things to understand about these exams.

What is an independent medical exam?

An IME is an examination by a doctor who is not affiliated with you or your treating physician. The examiner will review your medical records, examine you and write a report with their findings and opinions. This gives the insurer an impartial perspective for determining benefits or offering a settlement.

Why are independent medical exams required?

IMEs help claims adjusters make informed decisions regarding your claim. Your treating doctor works for you, so they are not considered unbiased. The IME doctor provides a neutral third-party medical evaluation to determine if your injury is work-related and whether treatment is necessary. This protects against fraud and unnecessary costs.

What happens during an independent medical exam?

The exam usually involves reviewing your records and medical history, asking questions about your job and injury, diagnosing your current condition and determining your work capacity. The doctor will write a report on their findings, which carries significant weight in the claims process. Make sure you communicate openly and clearly about your symptoms and experiences.

Independent medical exams simplify the processing of workers’ compensation claims by providing independent assessments. While the exam may feel invasive, try to view it as a means to facilitate your claim. Your cooperation is an important part of ensuring your future benefits.