What Happens After a Workers’ Comp IME?
One of the most important steps in a Maryland workers’ compensation claim is the independent medical examination (IME). During the IME, a doctor will examine you and your medical records to confirm your injuries and their cause.
Because workers’ compensation benefits are only available to those who have sustained an injury at work or while performing a job-related activity, the doctor’s report after an IME can significantly impact your claim. Read on to learn more about the IME process in Maryland.
Do IMEs Determine the Outcome of a Claim?
The findings of an IME can affect your claim, but it’s not the only factor determining your case’s outcome. When your employer’s workers’ compensation provider requests an IME, they seek proof of your injuries and how you got hurt. If the report from the doctor who conducts your IME matches up with your account of the accident, you have a good chance of receiving workers’ compensation benefits. If not, you should speak to a workers’ comp attorney about your next steps.
What Does the Doctor Do After the IME?
Once the doctor completes their exam, they will write a report with their conclusions on your injuries and what caused them. Because insurance companies usually request an IME, the doctor’s report will most likely be written as a series of responses to whatever questions or concerns the insurer raised.
When is an IME Really Over?
Here’s one crucial thing to remember about the IME: The exam is not over until you are out of sight. The doctor who performs the IME will be looking for any sign of fraud or deception on your part, and there is a good chance they will watch how you act and move even after the exam seems finished. Likewise, insurance adjusters may also be watching you. Don’t give them any reason to discredit your claims. Always watch what you say and how you act.
What Happens if the IME Report is Bad?
If the IME report does not align with your account of your injuries and how you acquired them, your workers’ compensation claim could be in jeopardy. Insurance companies and judges often view the reports from the IME doctor as more objective than the treating physician and could defer to their conclusions. Discrediting an IME report is possible, but you will need help from an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
How to Obtain a Copy of the Report
Once the IME report has been filed, you can request a copy of it from the doctor who examined you or your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer. The report should be available within several days or weeks of the examination. If your workers’ comp claim was denied, an attorney can review the IME and advise on what to do next.
How an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help
While your attorney cannot be in the exam room with you, they can ensure you’re thoroughly prepared for an IME by telling you what to say to the doctor, what records to bring, and how to behave during the exam. Your demeanor can greatly impact a doctor’s assessment of you, so you want to make as good of an impression as possible.
If your claim is denied after an IME, a workers’ compensation attorney can review the report for possible errors or omissions the examining doctor may have made. This step is critical before contesting the results of the doctor’s report.