What is an IME?
An Independent Medical Evaluation, also known as an IME, is scheduled by the Workers’ Compensation Carrier to evaluate the injured workers’ current medical status. This medical exam is performed by a doctor, relevant to your injury, selected by the insurance carrier – which is ‘independent’ from the doctor currently treating you. So, for example, if you have a back injury and are treating with an orthopedic surgeon, you would be sent to an orthopedic surgeon.
Independent Medical Evaluation
An IME is typically requested when the workers’ compensation carrier is looking to settle a case or stop benefits. You can expect to be notified via certified mail and regular mail with this request.
The IME is not optional and you must attend the same, with a rare few exceptions. If you fail to attend the scheduled examination, the workers’ compensation carrier will hire a lawyer and they will file a Petition to Compel you to attend the exam. Most Workers’ Compensation Judges will grant the Petition, as the workers’ compensation carrier is entitled to have you examined. There is no hard and fast rule, but typically the workers’ compensation carrier can request that you be seen once every six (6) months.
Another good thing to know is that if you need transportation to take you to the examination, the workers’ compensation carriers usually provide the same on your request. In fact, in the letter sent to you advising of the Independent Examination, they will add in a paragraph with contact information for you to call to request transportation. The workers’ compensation carrier will hire a vendor to pick you up at your home, take you to the examination, wait during the exam, and take you back home. You can expect, in most cases, a confirmation call the day before from that vendor.
If you’re undecided about transportation, it may be a good idea to go with it, because if you arrive at the IME late, the doctors typically won’t take you. If the IME doctor’s office reports back to the workers’ compensation carrier that you showed up late to the exam, or did not show up at all, then the carrier will reschedule the exam and most likely hire a lawyer to file a Petition to Compel you to attend the exam. Word to the wise…..Most Workers’ Compensation Judges will grant Petitions to Compel, as the workers’ compensation carrier is entitled to have you examined to assess your work injury condition and your work capability. The logic behind this is that if they are paying you workers’ compensation benefits, they have the right to follow your status and try and stop paying you benefits as soon as possible.
Thank you for taking the time to learn more about workers’ compensation through our Workers’ Comp Wednesdays with Kara Curry on 99.9 The Hawk. If you or a loved one has a question regarding your work injury or claim I invite you to contact me via phone (215) 530-7166, email or the form to the right. As a certified workers’ compensation attorney, I am happy to offer free consultations. – Paula Robinson, Esq.