Independent Medical Examination

Workers Comp IME : What to Expect at Your Independent Medical Examination

workers' compensation

As part of filing a workers compensation claim in New York, your employer’s insurance company might ask you to submit to an independent medical examination (IME) to verify the nature and extent of your injuries.

The workers compensation lawyers at Aronova & Associates understand how the results of your exam might affect your workers comp claim, and how you can best prepare for an IME to make sure the full extent of your injury is recognized. We help clients with work-related injuries in Manhattan, Nassau County, and throughout Long Island and NYC with all aspects of workers compensation claims and appeals, including requests for independent medical examinations.

More About Independent Medical Examination

What is an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?

An IME is a second medical opinion about your injury, including a determination of the causes of the injury, the extent to which the injury prevents you from doing your job, and the proper course of treatment for the injury. Your employer, its insurance company, or a judge or hearing officer who is assigned to your case can request that you have an IME. A party will typically ask for an IME when there is a question or disagreement about the nature or severity of the injury, or the therapy that your own doctor has recommended.

Who Chooses the IME Doctor?

Most critics agree that IMEs are “independent” in name only. Your employer or its insurance company will choose the doctor who will conduct the IME. Because the insurance company pays the doctor for his or her services, the doctor may feel pressure to downplay certain aspects of your injury, or to recommend a less expensive treatment plan. In most cases, you will not have an option to seek a different IME doctor.

What To Do Before and During the Exam

Here are some recommendations for the IME process:

  • Talk to a lawyer at Aronova & Associates before you have your independent medical examination. We can outline your rights, tell you what to expect from the exam, and prepare you for the questions the IME doctor might ask.
  • Ask to review all documents, medical records, or instructions your insurance company gives to the IME doctor. Take your time to correct any mistakes or omissions that you discover.
  • Do not exaggerate anything. The IME doctor will closely observe everything you do and say, even outside of the examining area. If the doctor sees you walking normally in a reception area, but you then limp into the examination room, that observation may well appear in an IME report.
  • If you are comfortable enough to do so, ask a friend to accompany you to the examination. Have your friends take notes about what was said and done during the IME.
  • Ask the IME doctor questions about your injury and different treatment options. Get specific information on the best treatment options for someone who is of a similar age and who has physical abilities that are close to yours.

How Will the IME Results Impact My Workers Comp Claim?

An insurance adjuster can use a negative IME report to deny or substantially reduce your benefits under a workers comp claim. You can try to rebut a negative IME report on your own, but you will increase your chances of overcoming a negative IME report when you work with a workers compensation attorney who has the experience to deal with an adjuster’s denials.

You can take a number of steps to address a negative IME report:

  1. Request a copy of the complete IME report. Do not accept partial copies or summaries of the report.
  2. Analyze the report for inaccuracies, superficial conclusions, and incomplete information.
  3. Send the insurance company a written response to the IME report, including details of how little time the IME doctor spent on the independent medical examination, in contrast with how much time you have spent with your own physicians and therapists.
  4. Seek information about the IME doctor’s relationship with the insurance company, including how many IME reports have been prepared by the doctor and how many claims have been denied or limited because of that IME doctor’s examinations.

How Can a Workers Compensation Attorney Help Me with an IME Request?

The workers compensation lawyers at Aronova & Associates have decades of experience successfully representing disabled workers in the five boroughs of NYC and Long Island. We can help you apply for and receive the workers compensation benefits you deserve after a job-related injury. We have seen how employers and insurance companies use IMEs against injured workers, and we know how to respond to unfavorable IME reports. In many instances, our experience exceeds the experience of the claims adjusters and case managers that will review your application.

Don’t let mistakes or omissions keep you from getting full worker’s comp benefits. When you call the attorneys at Aronova & Associates, we will relieve you of  the stress of going through the claim process alone, and make sure that the insurance company does not take advantage of you with a rushed or inaccurate IME. Call us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

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Issues or questions with a workers’ compensation claim? Not sure where to turn for answers? Aronova & Associates helps thousands of injured workers per year. We’re here for you. 

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