Independent Medical Exam for FedEx Drivers
You may be asked to attend an independent medical exam if you submit a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. These exams may be comprehensive, or they may be conducted to answer specific questions posed by the workers’ compensation insurer. When requested, these exams are mandatory. However, if you are a FedEx driver who was injured on the job and FedEx’s insurer asks you to go to an independent medical exam, you should call the seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca.What Is an Independent Medical Exam?
An Independent Medical Exam, also known as an IME, is a comprehensive exam and report issued by a doctor who is not treating you. The employer or insurance carrier may order the IME, and they are more likely to order one if they have doubts about the disabling nature of the FedEx worker’s injury or the extent of treatment that’s needed to address those injuries. The doctor will examine you and also review your medical records, diagnostic testing, and other providers’ testimony. The report he or she creates can be used as evidence by the insurer. Unlike your treating physician, the IME doctor owes you no professional duty of care.
Moreover, contrary to the name of this exam, it is conducted by a doctor who is retained by FedEx’s insurer, and as such, it is not truly independent. In most cases, the insurer hires someone who is known to be sympathetic to employers and insurers, not workers. The doctor may have a history of recommending conservative treatments even when the facts of the injury warrant more serous interventions. For example, he may claim in his report that you don’t need a surgery your treating physician has asked for authorization for.
However, if you are asked to attend an IME in or around Chicago, you must go. Benefits you need can be denied if you refuse. Our lawyers may suggest it would be appropriate to bring along a nurse-practitioner or friend to take notes on what you were asked and other aspects of the IME.What Happens at an IME?
At the IME, the doctor may give you a full examination, but he or she may look at specific questions that the insurer requests. Questions that may be looked at in close detail include:
- Were your injuries work-related?
- Did your work injuries aggravate a preexisting condition?
- Are you partially or fully disabled as a result of work-related injuries?
- Are your injuries as disabling as your treating physician says they are?
- Do you require surgery or any other invasive procedure?
- Are you permanently unable to work as a FedEx driver as a result of the work-related injuries?
- If you are able to work, do you have any limitations, and what are they?
- Are you able to return to work doing the same job you did before?
You are entitled to a copy of the report.
If the report is used at an arbitration related to your benefits, the arbitrator will weigh the credibility of the IME doctor’s opinions, along with your own treating physicians’ opinions and any experts’.Surveillance by Insurers
It is important to be aware that insurers continue to investigate claims even if they start paying disability benefits right away. You may be under surveillance to see whether you really can lift boxes or drive or otherwise do work activities that your doctor stated you could not do. You may even be surveilled by the doctor as you attend the IME.Consult Chicago Workers’ Compensation Attorneys About an IME
If you were asked to go to an IME in connection with your workers’ compensation benefits, give us a call. Our attorneys handle FedEx drivers’ workers’ compensation claims in Aurora, Champaign, Rockford, Quincy, as well as Winnebago, Kane, Sangamon, Cook, and Adams Counties. We also handle third party lawsuits, such as those that may need to be brought against a manufacturer or other driver, and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Call us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or complete our online form.