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Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs): What to Expect With Your Workers’ Comp Case

After a work-related injury, many employees will go to their personal physician for an examination. Lawyers who work with Workers' Compensation claims prefer to use an independent medical examiner who can provide an unbiased opinion about your injuries. This is where being examined by an independent medical examiner comes into play.

Scope of Independent Medical Examination

An independent medical examination is a thorough physical exam performed by a reputable physician who has no ties to either party in the case. Once the exam is complete, the doctor will create a report that details their findings and turn it over to the Workers’ Compensation attorneys. An IME will often support the findings of the employee’s primary physician. Using both reports will help the employee’s attorneys build their case.

Who Is Required to Attend an IME As Per Workers’ Comp Law?

States often require an employee who has been injured on the job to submit to an IME for an unbiased examination. While an employee has the right to visit their primary physician to treat their injuries, they may be ordered by the judge to attend an IME with a third-party physician. This “second opinion” will provide verifiable answers to what caused the work-related injuries and whether they were made worse by a pre-existing condition.

When Are IME’s Conducted?

State law allows workers’ compensation insurance carriers and employers to request an IME once every six months. The employee must be allowed to schedule the appointment at a reasonable time and must have their travel expenses paid by the insurer.

Why IME’s Are Important?

IME’s are essential because they provide the insurance carrier and employer with an unbiased, third-party opinion of the employee’s injuries. An IME offers valuable information that can be used to verify and support an employee’s claims as they pertain to work-related injuries. Physicians who perform IME’s are highly trained and may be able to spot injuries or complications that the employee’s primary care physician may have missed.

How Long Does an Independent Medical Exam Take?

An independent medical exam can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the type of tests the doctor performs to evaluate your injuries. Once the doctor has completed your exam, he will write a report that details your medical injuries and include his judgment on whether you may return to work or not. This report must be handed over to your lawyer within 15 days of your examination.

Why Do You Need an Independent Medical Examination?

An independent medical examination is performed to provide an unbiased report concerning your injuries. By having a third-party independent medical examiner perform your medical exam, you can be assured of an impartial decision on whether or not you can return to work. In case you can resume work, your medical examiner will point out your limitations, if any. The IME is able to look at all of your past medical records as well as your current records to give an accurate determination of your injuries to the courts.

How Will the IME Affect My Workers’ Comp Case?

The IME will have a direct impact on your workers’ compensation case because they are an impartial, third-party. The independent medical examiner has no connection to you or your employer, so they have no personal interest in the outcome of your case. Their unbiased opinion will be used to determine the type of compensation you receive for your injuries.

How Can I Challenge the Results?

In order to challenge the results of an independent medical examiner, you will need to hire a workers’ compensation attorney to represent you in court. At Gaylord & Nantais, the attorneys are proficient in workers’ compensation laws and are here to assist you in making the right decision. We help you get the compensation you deserve by disputing the findings of the IME. Contact us today to learn more!

The attorneys of Gaylord & Nantais work with employees who have been injured on the job. They understand that both employers and Workers’ Compensation insurance carriers are concerned about the employee. Through an IME, our attorneys can help the employee get the compensation they deserve while they recover from their injuries.


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Thomas M. Nantais

Thomas M. Nantais

Thomas M. Nantais is the Co- owner of Gaylord & Nantais, a legal firm specializing in workers’ compensation, in the state of California. This firm deals in getting hearing loss compensation and work related injuries compensation for those who have worked in the state of California. With his sincere efforts, Thomas is committed to meet the highest standards of the legal industry, and aims to provide the clients with an honest and aggressive representation.

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