What is an IME?
Before we can get into our independent medical examination guidelines, let’s ensure we understand the basic concept of an independent medical examination (IME). Simply put, an IME is an evaluation performed by a third-party independent medical specialist to give an unbiased assessment of the injured party.
Prepping for your appointment
Okay, so you are ramping up to attend your first IME appointment. It can be pretty nerve-racking when you’re not sure what to expect. Here are a few things you can do to prepare.
- Show up 15-30 minutes early to the exam.
- Have a good understanding of your medical history.
- Come to the exam well-groomed and dressed appropriately for your injury.
- Bring medical documentation with you if you saw a doctor for your injury before the exam.
- Be clear and consistent with the details of your injury.
Independent medical examination guidelines to follow
Now that you’ve made it to the day of the exam, we can go over the independent medical examination guidelines to follow during your appointment. Brush past the old waiting room magazines, and let’s get into it!
- Always be honest with the examiner about your injury. Don’t over or under-play any factors to weaken the credibility of your case.
- Be cool and calm. We know it can be frustrating to go through this process but keep your composure.
- If you’ve had pain relief from treatments, don’t be afraid to bring it up (this can help the doctor pinpoint diagnoses).
- Remember you’re being watched during this appointment. There may even be surveillance footage of you that can be referenced.
- Don’t interrupt the doctor during the exam, but do make sure your concerns are discussed.
- Be brief but clear when you respond to questions.
- They may ask about your recovery/health goals during the appointment. Think about those goals realistically, and don’t be afraid to say when you’re unsure about a timeline.
Post-appointment follow up
After the IME is finished, the examining doctor will publish a report outlining their findings and recommendations. The report will probably be written to address any contested conditions or inquiries raised by the insurance provider.
Your disability claim may be significantly impacted by the IME’s findings. Insurance companies frequently use IME doctors as “experts,” and judges generally must look at the weight and amount of medical evidence – for and against your position. Under the Industrial Insurance Act, courts are supposed to give special consideration to your attending physician’s opinion; however, this does not mean what your doctor says is the ultimate deciding factor in your case — a number of IMEs with incongruent opinions can result in what courts refer to as a “preponderance of medical testimony” and this can lead to the judge deciding to rule in favor of the insurer rather than you and your doctor(s).
Carlisle + Byers services
Sadly, independent medical examination guidelines can only do so much, and quite frankly, your IME provider has been hired by the insurer to see if their opinions contradict that of your doctor in an effort to save claim/case expense. If you’re struggling through insurance paperwork, doctor visits, or obtaining workers’ compensation after a workplace injury, the attorneys at Carlisle + Byers are here to help you. It’s our mission to zealously advocate to give our clients the care and recovery they deserve to live their lives to the fullest. Click here to schedule a free consultation.