What to Do When You Receive a Workers’ Compensation IME Request
An IME, or Independent Medical Exam, is an examination conducted by a physician selected by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. Many injured workers are uncertain about seeing a different physician, and want to avoid the IME. Unfortunately, failure to cooperate with the IME can result in termination of benefits, so it’s important that an injured worker who receives an IME request is prepared to respond appropriately.
The best source of this information is an experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorney. If you’ve received an IME request and do not have an attorney, you can schedule a free consultation with Hanagan & McGovern by calling 618-241-9251.
Unlike many workers’ compensation law firms, we won’t try to sell you on services you don’t need. If, during your free consultation, we conclude that you can likely handle your claim without legal representation, we’ll let you know.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Workers’ Comp IME
1.Do I have to cooperate with the IME?
It’s understandable that you have concerns about being sent to an unknown physician, possibly while you’re in the midst of treatment, but the workers’ compensation insurance company has a right to an independent medical assessment. If you don’t cooperate, you could lose benefits completely.
2.What should I do when I receive notice of the IME?
Your first step after receiving an IME request should be to contact your attorney. While you’ll find some general information about managing your IME on this page, your workers’ compensation lawyer will be in a position to offer you more specific guidance based on your situation.
3.What happens during an IME?
Of course, each IME may be a bit different, since different injuries, limitations, and other variables are involved. However, you can generally expect that your independent medical exam will involve both questions from the doctor and a physical examination. Often, these examinations take 15 minutes or less. However, the depth and timing vary, so don’t be alarmed if your exam takes longer.
4.How should I interact with the doctor conducting the IME?
Generally, the best approach is to answer the doctor’s questions simply and directly. Be honest and polite, and do not exaggerate your injuries. Remember that the doctor is a trained and experienced professional who will be conducting a physical examination, so dishonesty about your symptoms and limitations is very likely to backfire. Keep your responses brief and truthful. Your workers’ comp attorney may have additional advice tailored to the specifics of your case, the physician you’ll be seeing, or some other factor.
5.What type of questions will the doctor ask during an IME?
The doctor’s questions will typically focus on how you sustained the injury, your symptoms and limitations since, and whether you have any pre-existing conditions or previous injuries that may explain your symptoms and limitations. As part of your preparation for the IME, make sure that the timeline is clear in your mind, that you recall the details of your injury, and that you don’t forget to mention any effects you’ve suffered. You will also want to refresh your memory regarding any pre-existing conditions or prior injuries so that you are prepared to offer clear, accurate and concise responses to the physician’s questions.
6.Do I have any control over the IME process?
Though you must cooperate with the IME process, the time and place of the exam must be reasonably convenient for you.
7. Should I be concerned about the IME?
An unfavorable conclusion from the physician conducting the IME can have a negative impact on your claim. In some cases, the workers’ compensation insurer even decides to discontinue benefits after receiving the IME report. Obviously, you will want to avoid that type of adverse action by being clear, honest, and prepared. Your workers’ comp attorney can help you prepare. However, it’s important to remember that the “independent” physician and the insurance carrier don’t have the final word. Your attorney can continue to fight for your benefits.
Talk to a Workers’ Comp Attorney Before Your IME
The IME can have a significant impact on your workers’ compensation claim. If you’ve received an IME request, it’s important that you discuss the exam process with your attorney before attending. If you don’t have a workers’ compensation lawyer and you have received notice of an IME, contact us for a free consultation as soon as possible. Just call 618-241-9251.