Independent Medical Examination
In the course of your Illinois workers’ compensation case, you may learn that your employer or its insurer wants you to undergo an Independent Medical Examination. Understanding the basics of this process can help you navigate this part of your case.
Many people ask if they really need to appear for the IME. The answer is, yes. Section 12 of the Workers’ Compensation Act entitles employers or their insurance companies to require claimants to submit to an IME. Failing to comply may result in suspension of benefits until you appear for the examination.
What the IME covers
The party requiring the IME chooses a physician to perform a medical assessment of your injury, its causes and likely ramifications, independently of any work by your prior treating physicians. The doctor performing the IME may conduct a physical examination, ask questions about your injury and review existing diagnostic tests. The doctor then composes a report with his or her findings and recommendations concerning the extent of the injury, whether it was caused by a work condition or incident, and the ways in which it may continue to entitle you to benefits. The doctor may also testify at any workers’ compensation hearings in your case.
Employer must pay your IME expenses
The law requires your employer to shoulder any expenses you incur as a result of having to attend the IME, including travel costs and lost wages. The physician must also produce the report promptly so that both your attorney and the employer get the opportunity to review it.
IME may disagree with your doctor
The findings of the IME physician may contradict your treating doctor’s opinion. If this happens, it is important to address this disagreement and present evidence that your doctor holds the correct opinion. Simply letting the IME report stand may cause you to lose benefits you may need.
Workers’ compensation cases often involve complicated legal and medical issues. A qualified attorney can act as an effective advocate for your interests and address potential roadblocks along the way.