COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

Independent Medical Exam for Injured City of Chicago Workers

Chicago Lawyers Helping Municipal Employees

Like many big businesses, the City of Chicago is self-insured for workers’ compensation claims. This means that the City does not work with an outside insurance company to process their claims. Injured workers should realize that even though they are employed by Chicago, the City is not on their side with regard to their workers’ compensation claim. An independent medical exam for injured City of Chicago workers may be requested when the City harbors doubts about the severity of the employee’s injuries or the doctor’s proposed treatment for them. If you have questions about the independent medical exam, you should discuss your situation with a seasoned Chicago workers’ compensation attorney.

Independent Medical Exam for Injured City of Chicago Workers

Independent medical exams (IME) are governed by Section 12 of the Illinois Worker's Compensation Act. Employers have a statutory right to request an independent medical examination of the employee to determine the nature, extent and probable duration of the injury. Employers must provide appropriate notice and mileage money to get to the IME. The employee must attend to the mandatory IME. If you cancel or do not attend the IME, your benefits may be suspended until you reschedule and complete the IME. If you want advice about an upcoming IME, contact a lawyer who handles workers’ compensation cases.

What Happens at an IME?

Before the exam, your medical records and other documentation about your injuries should be forwarded to the IME doctor. In some cases, the doctor reviews these documents ahead of time. Sometimes, the City may write to the doctor explaining the injury and asking specific questions about the work-related injury such as whether you are permanently disabled or whether a particular treatment is necessary. The doctor may conduct the exam so as to be able to answer those specific questions.

When you go to an IME, you may need to bring any imaging that has been conducted in connection with your work-related injury, including MRIs, X-rays and CT scans, in case they have not been sent. You should not have any expectation that what you say to an IME doctor will be kept confidential. Your statements to the IME doctor may be used to bolster the IME doctor’s report to the insurer or at a workers’ compensation hearing.

It is wise to bring someone to an IME with you and to document what happened at the IME. The person who comes with you to an IME can corroborate your claims about how long the IME lasted and what happened during it. Similarly, if you document what transpired at the IME, the documentation will bolster your claims at a hearing. For example, the IME doctor’s report may not be particularly credible when weighed against your treating physician’s testimony if the IME doctor only examined you for 10 minutes or failed to ask relevant questions.

Purpose of an Independent Medical Exam for Injured City of Chicago Workers

While an IME is supposed to provide an objective assessment of your work-related injury, it may not accomplish that. Often, employers or insurers will request an IME when they are skeptical about the extent of injuries or the duration of the disability. The doctor who performs an IME will write a report about his or her findings. The City of Chicago is entitled to rely on any opinions of the IME doctor. If the IME doctor reports that the employee is physically able to return to work in a full capacity or that the injury is not as severe as believed by the treating doctor, the employer or insurer is entitled to deny the claim or stop certain benefits based on the IME report.

If you disagree, the dispute may need to be settled with an arbitrator. Generally, the arbitrator, when faced with medical reports that conflict will rely on the report that appears to be more credible.

Retain a Seasoned Workplace Injury Attorney

If an employer or insurer has requested you to attend an independent medical exam, you should discuss your situation with the seasoned lawyers of Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca. We represent injured workers in Chicago, Aurora, Quincy, Champaign, and Rockford, along with Winnebago, Cook, Adams, Sangamon, and Kane Counties. Call us at 800-444-1525 or 312-263-6330 or complete our online form.