What you need to know regarding Independent Medical Examinations (IME)
In Workers’ Compensation cases, the insurance company has a right to require the injured party to have an Independent Medical Evaluation (“IME”) conducted by a doctor selected by the insurance company.
If you have been scheduled for such an IME by the receipt of some notice through the mail, please make certain that you contact our office and speak with your attorney or our claims administrator. It is important that you are prepared for this important meeting with a potentially-adverse doctor.
The purpose of the exam is to have a doctor evaluate your condition and determine whether you will continue to require medical treatment or will have limitations. In our opinion, some insurance companies try to find any reason to cut off your benefits. On the other hand, the doctors who perform evaluations are often caring individuals who may recommend other types of treatment to address a lingering physical ailment. AGAIN, YOU NEED TO BE PREPARED FOR THIS IMPORTANT EVENT.
Some tips to follow are:
- DRESS: Please dress appropriately and make certain that you show appropriate respect to the physician. It is important that the doctor like you and sees that you are trying to get better.
- TELL THE TRUTH: Always tell the truth. Do not exaggerate the pain that you are experiencing, since the various tests that are given to you will point out that exaggeration.
- WHAT TO BRING: You may bring a family member or a friend with you. You also should bring any w-ray, MRI, or other diagnostic tests that demonstrate your problem. Discuss this with you lawyer or claims representative.
- CONSULT WITH YOUR OWN DOCTOR: You may wish to consult with your own doctor before going into the exam. You could speak to your own doctor to make certain that you will not experience any harm by doing the various tests that the independent doctor may put you through. If your doctor feels that you should not perform all of the tests, have your doctor give you a note and provide the note to the Social Security doctor.
- EXPLAIN: Describe the type of pain, its locations, how long each lasts, and how you are limited by each, but still make certain that the doctor understands the level of pain or discomfort that you are experiencing, and relate that to the doctor. Speak to your family and discuss the instances where they see that you have pain or limitations due to your injuries.
- KEEP TRACK OF TIME: Keep track of the length of time that you are actually meeting with the doctor so that we can verify the thoroughness of the exam. An exam should last from 10-30 minutes. You do not have to undergo lengthy work capacity tests unless we have arranged that for you in advance. (Some doctors are thorough. Others are quick and already have preconceived notions.)
- MAKE NOTES: Immediately after you get out of the exam, make notes to share with your attorney, recalling the amount of time that you spent with the doctor, the tests that s/he conducted and the questions that s/he asked. That may be important if we subsequently contest the doctor’s findings.
- CALL US: After the exam, call the law firm to let us know that the exam has been completed so that we can request a copy of the report from the social security administration. We are entitled to the report.