If you face a work injury, and file a worker’s compensation claim, there are a few steps that you might have to take to verify the injury, as well as the treatment plan. For the most part, there will likely be a designated doctor that the employer will send all injured worker’s to. However, on some occasions, you or your employer might seek out an independent medical exam to assess the injury. While a second opinion can bring a lot of different issues to light, your reasoning, and your employer’s, might be a bit different….

Independent Medical Exam: Why You, or Your Employer, Might Want One

Why you might seek one out:

If you’re the one who decides to get a second opinion, you have certain reasons for doing so. Maybe you feel that the provided medical professional isn’t reporting the full scope of injury, maybe you doubt their findings, or you’re just curious. It’s important to understand that if you decide to have this exam without having a hearing to ask the commission to order one, that this will come out of your own pocket. However, having that second— maybe a little less biased opinion, could be more helpful to your getting proper treatment.

Why your employer might seek this out:

For the most part, these visits offer a second opinion on the seriousness of your injury. Having a second opinion can be extremely helpful to your case, and healing process. However, sometimes, it can be counterproductive. Being that the company hired and paid the doctor to perform this independent medical exam, that doctor may potentially fall on the company’s side and minimize the injury report as a result.

It’s important to realize that every employer might not do this, however it’s important to understand that they might have their best in mind rather than yours. Every company, and employer, will not react in this way. However, it’s important to stay on top of your claim, and your health. Furthermore, seek out a personal injury attorney if you have a serious injury. While a simple sprained wrist might not be worth consulting a lawyer, if you’re facing serious bodily harm— you need added protection.

Do I have to go? 

In the event that you receive a letter calling for you to attend an independent medical exam (or IME), yes. By law, you must go. It is an employer’s right to have a doctor of their choice examine the wound. So, to make sure you get all of the benefits associated with a worker’s compensation claim, you must cooperate.

Will It Affect My Case?

Since employer’s will want you back at work, it is possible a doctor from your IME may release you back to duty. In that case, the insurance company may deny paying your benefits on the basis of this doctor’s release. But in truth, you may not be physically ready to return to work. In this specific instance, you might need to start fighting for your claim. That’s where we come in. If an employer is using this exam as a means to deny your claim, make the call. Your health and healing should be of the upmost importance to your employer. But, when it’s not, you have to find someone who will treat it that way. So, you focus on getting healthy, and we’ll focus on the rest.