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    Independent Medical Evaluation for Workers Comp: Key Facts

    An independent medical evaluation (IME) is an examination by a doctor who has not previously treated you. IMEs are commonly used by insurance companies, employers, and attorneys to get an unbiased opinion about the medical conditions and treatments related to a work injury or accident claim.

    Going through an IME can be stressful and frustrating. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the process and how a Nashville workers comp attorney can help you.

    What Is an Independent Medical Evaluation?

    An independent medical evaluation is an assessment of a worker’s condition and disability conducted by a doctor who does not regularly treat them. IME doctors are hired by employers, insurance companies, or others involved in a workers’ compensation claim to provide an unbiased evaluation of the injury.

    There are a few common reasons why an IME may be requested:

    • There are conflicting opinions between workers and insurance companies’ doctors regarding the cause or severity of an injury. An IME can provide another perspective.
    • Based on the injury, the worker’s recovery seems to be taking longer than expected. An IME can determine if the extended disability is reasonable.
    • The insurance company suspects the worker is exaggerating their symptoms or disability. An IME can evaluate if the level of disability seems appropriate for the injury.

    Why Is an IME Required for Workers Compensation Claims?

    The insurance company handling your workers comp claim will typically request an IME to confirm the extent of your injury and appropriate treatment. Make sure you talk with your Nashville workers comp lawyer before going, to understand the purpose of the examination.

    Objective Medical Opinion

    The IME doctor is not your treating physician and has no prior relationship with you. They will review and examine your medical records to provide their professional opinion on your condition and whether further treatment is reasonable and necessary according to medical standards. 

    Addressing Delays or Denials

    If your claim has been denied or delayed, an IME can be requested to dispute the insurance company’s decision. The IME doctor’s objective report may support that your injury and requested treatment are directly related to your work accident. 

    your workers comp claim may end with a medical examination performed by a doctor chosen by the insurer

    Providing Closure

    Sometimes, either party may request an IME to gain closure on a claim. The IME physician’s report can determine whether maximum medical improvement has been reached, meaning your condition has stabilized and is unlikely to improve further with additional treatment. 

    What to Expect During an IME Appointment

    During your IME appointment, the doctor will evaluate your condition to determine if it’s related to your work injury. The exam typically lasts 30-60 minutes. Here’s what you can expect:

    Medical History Review

    The doctor will review your medical records and the history of your injury. Be prepared to discuss how the injury occurred, your symptoms, your course of treatment, and your current condition. Provide details about your job requirements and how the injury has impacted your ability to work.

    Physical Exam

    The doctor will conduct a physical exam to assess your range of motion, strength, coordination, and current symptoms. They may check your vital signs, reflexes, and sensory function. Don’t be surprised if they ask you to bend, lift, or carry objects to evaluate your physical abilities. Be as cooperative as possible during the exam.

    Functional Capacity Evaluation

    The doctor may perform additional tests to determine your functional capacities, such as sitting, standing, walking, lifting, carrying, bending, or kneeling for periods. These evaluations will help determine if you can return to your previous job duties or if modifications are needed.

    How IME Reports Can Impact Your Workers Comp Claim

    The IME doctor’s findings may support your claim that your injury prevents you from working, which helps validate your benefits. However, an IME report contradicting your treating doctor’s findings could weaken your claim. 

    The insurance company may use the IME to argue your injury is not as severe as stated or that you can return to work in some capacity. You can respond to the IME and provide further evidence from your doctor to support your position.

    Contact a Nashville Workers Compensation Lawyer Right Away! 

    Do not hesitate to reach out if you have any concerns or questions about your upcoming independent medical examination. Our experienced workers comp attorneys in Nashville can help explain the IME process, review your medical records with you, and advise you on how to prepare best. 

    Reach out today at (615) 502-4477 to schedule your consultation!

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