If you have filed a claim for workers’ compensation you may have to undergo what is known as ‘Independent Medical Examination’. In the best-case scenario, your treating doctor will have the final say with regards to the treatment that should be administered in order to heal your work-related injury or help you recover from work-induced illness. The treating doctor has the right to decide when you should be able to return to work, whether the injury or illness has caused any kind of temporary or permanent disability and to what extent they can affect your return to work.
There are instances when your employer’s insurance company may not be on the same page as far as the assessment of your treating doctor is concerned. This is where the insurance company may ask you to undergo an IME. In theory, this examination is conducted by a neutral doctor or medical board and their assessment has to bear on the outcome on the compensation and benefits that you will receive. At the Law Offices of James E. Latimer & Associates (top-rated attorney for workers compensation in Oakland, CA) our experience tells us that the process is anything but independent or neutral. In many cases, insurance companies exploit loopholes in the rules and select doctors for IME.
If you have been advised to undergo an IME, you should immediately get in touch with an attorney. Additionally, you must always request a copy of the letter sent by the insurance company to the IME as this will allow you to spot any factual mistakes and contest them.
What Happens During an Independent Medical Examination?
The IME doctors would have your medical reports and other relevant documents prior to the actual examination. It is at their discretion on whether they wish to review your records before examining your or after they are through the examination. Most IME doctors would focus on the issues raised by the insurance company based on the reports of your treating doctor. They are likely to ask you several questions during the examination and some of the most common ones include –
- Do you really have the conditions that you claim? Are you satisfied with the assessment of your treating doctor?
- Are the symptoms related to your disability and other medical issues liked to the illness or injury you suffered at work?
- When do you think you will be able to resume work? Do you have any restrictions as far as resuming work is concerned?
- Are you under treatment for any other medical condition other than the work-related injury?
Can You Challenge The Results?
Under the current Workers’ Compensation Law the conclusions written in the Independent Medical Examination hold great weightage in the court of law. However, there are several grounds on which you can challenge this assessment. For instance, if the assessment is based on incorrect reports you can challenge it. If there are factual mistakes that contradict your medical report, this assessment can be challenged.
As your trusted Oakland workers comp attorney we suggest you get in touch with us when you are filing for workers’ compensation benefits. We work on a no compensation-no fee basis, and if you do have to undergo an Independent Medical Examination, we shall make sure that your rights are protected. If there is a scope for challenging the reports presented by the IME experts, you can trust us to win the battle for you.