What Are Independent Medical Examinations?
Many injured workers receive a letter at some point that the workers compensation insurance company is requiring them to go to an IME, or Independent Medical Examination. This is a requirement for injured workers receiving workers compensation benefits. It is an exam whereby the insurance company selects, and pays, a doctor to perform a quick physical examination of you. There is no doctor/patient relationship between you and the doctor. The sole purpose of the exam is for the doctor to ultimately write a report as to your ability, or inability, to work to perform your job duties.
These exams are intended to be neutral, third-party exams. The reality is that the majority of these reports are written to favor the employer, since the doctor is being paid by the workers compensation insurance company to write the report. The doctor may tell you verbally during the exam that he thinks you are injured and that you cannot work. However, what he actually writes in his report is typically much different. Regardless of what the doctor tells you during the exam, all that matters is what he writes in the report. Because it is the report that the insurance company will use to reduce, or terminate your benefits.
If you cannot get to the appointment the insurance company will provide transportation. They will also provide an interpreter if needed.
Failure to attend the IME may result in your benefits stopping. It is therefore vital that you attend the exam. If you cannot attend on the scheduled date and time, the insurance company will reschedule it for you. You must call them to change the appointment.
The IME doctor’s report will be ready in a few days, or few weeks, after the exam. More likely than not, the report will be used by the workers comp insurance company to try to reduce, or terminate altogether, your weekly workers compensation benefits checks.
Be sure to contact the Law Office of Christopher Earley if you have questions about these exams, or any other questions relating to Massachusetts workers compensation law.