An Exam Like No Other: The IME

Workers' comp insurance provides a much-needed form of help when you get injured at work. You can expect to gain everything from full payment of your medical bills to the ability to earn a portion of your salary while staying home and recuperating. While you may have expected to be able to return to your job fairly quickly, in some cases your injury does not seem to be healing in a timely manner. Read on to learn more about a special kind of medical exam known as the independent medical exam (IME).

What is the purpose of this exam?

In most cases, workers who use this insurance do so for a limited amount of time. When more than the usual amount of time has passed, the workers' comp insurance company may need to learn more about your injury and it's potential for healing completely. If so, you will be asked to undergo an IME. You should understand that a failure to comply with this request could mean that your workers' comp benefits could be terminated immediately.

How is this exam different?

This exam should not be perceived as your usual exam, but instead as an important turning point in your claim. This doctor will be of the workers' comp carrier's choosing, and will focus only on your work injury. You must have no expectation of the normal confidentiality of a regular exam; these results are reported directly to the carrier for evaluation. You will not be charged for this exam, however.

What will happen at the IME?

If you want to have a successful exam, be sure to prepare ahead of time by reviewing your past records of treatment and refresh your memory of the incident that lead to your injury. In fact, it is perfectly acceptable to take the notes about your accident or injury into the exam room with you. After checking your vital signs, you have have the pertinent body part examined. The doctor will manipulate certain areas to determine your level of pain, flexibility, discomfort and mobility.

What happens after the IME?

Once the medical report is ready, you will be contacted with the results. If you are being told to report back to work and you still cannot do so, speak to a workers' comp attorney at once. You may be facing more recuperation or even a permanent injury, so be sure to get a legal professional on your side to ensure that you get what you need and deserve.