If you are injured at work or have developed a work related illness, your doctor will decide your course of treatment, when you can return to work, if you are disabled and to what extent. If your company’s insurance company disagrees with the treating doctor’s evaluation or requires further clarification, they may ask you to undergo an independent medical exam or IME. If you are asked to undergo an IME, you should consider talking to a workers’ comp attorney to protect your rights.
IMEs are often conducted by doctors who routinely work for insurers so they may not be as impartial as they should be and, as a result, may minimize the extent of your injuries. Take steps to protect yourself:
It is important have an advocate present at your IME appointment such as a friend or family member who can document the experience from beginning to end by noting when and how long the examination takes, what questions are asked and what treatments are administered. The more detailed the better.
If the insurance adjuster reduces or denies your claim based on the IME doctor’s report, get a copy and use your notes to counter why the examination was unfair or inaccurate. Was it too brief? Did the doctor take into account your full medical history? How did the IME examination compare to the time your treating doctor spent to evaluate your injury or illness? Let the adjuster know that you have a witness to back up your version of the evaluation. You may also ask your treating doctor or specialist to write a response to the report if the adjuster is using it to deny your claim.
If you’re unable to negotiate a fair settlement, it is time to discuss your case with an experienced workers’ compensation claim attorney. Often times, having an experienced Iowa workers’ compensation attorney will send a message to an adjuster that you mean business and that you are not going to settle for something less than fair and appropriate for your work related injury or illness.