Independent Medical Exam
Our experienced Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys can represent you in a claim that’s been denied. In some cases, claims by road construction workers are denied because an insurer doesn’t believe that the worker is as injured as he and his treating physician claim. Sometimes an insurer believes that a worker is malingering. The insurer for the road construction company you work for may ask you go attend an independent medical exam, also known as IME. An IME may be conducted as a full exam that evaluates a worker’s medical condition in a broad way. However, insurers might have very specific concerns and ask an IME doctor to focus on simply answering those question. When an insurer asks you to go to an IME, you must go; if you fail to go to an IME when an insurer asks, your claim can be denied. However, Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca, we can offer legal advice and counsel when an insurer expresses skepticism about your claim or outright denies it. We’ve represented road construction and other workers for more than 60 years in their claims.What Happens During an IME?
Independent Medical Exams tend not to be independent. They are conducted by a non-treating physician. Often insurers or road construction companies order these exams if they are skeptical of your claim or the extent of your injuries. They may order an IME because they don’t believe you actually need treatment that your treating physician has ordered. That treatment may be more expensive than what the insurer would prefer to pay, as is the case with some surgeries.
During an IME, the doctor retained by the insurer will examine you. As part of the exam, he or she will review your medical records, your treating physicians’ notes or testimony, and any diagnostic testing or imaging related to your work injuries, or, where a preexisting condition is involved, that preexisting condition. Over the course of the exam, you should be honest, while also remembering that the IME doctor doesn’t owe you a professional standard of care. It can be helpful to bring along a witness who can take notes about what the IME doctor did or did not do during the exam. It may be straightforward, for example, to discredit an IME doctor who didn’t familiarize himself with records in a complex case.IME Report
After the IME, the doctor will create a report. You are entitled to a copy of the report. The insurer may use the report as evidence to deny you benefits or make certain arguments to the arbitrator, such as that the treatment your physician requests is not needed.
Typically, insurers hire doctors that have a history of recommending conservative treatments and requiring workers to get back to work as soon as possible. Even so, it is crucial to go and to be honest about your injuries, as the IME doctor’s report could hold sway with an arbitrator who is reviewing whether or not you need a particular type of care or intervention.What Questions Would an Insurer Ask an IME Doctor to Review?
An insurer may ask the IME doctor to look at whether your condition is work-related. This is most likely if there is some question about whether your injuries occurred on the job or in some extra-occupational context such as recreational sports.
An IME doctor may be asked to look at whether you’re truly, permanently disabled because of your work-related injuries, or whether you can go back to work in a part-time capacity. An IME doctor may be looking at whether your injuries aggravated a preexisting condition, or whether the harm you complain about is purely from an earlier injury.Call a Chicago Road Construction Accident Attorney About Your IME
Our trustworthy Chicago workers’ compensation attorneys have more than 60 years of experience representing workers, including all types of road construction workers, in disputed claims in Rockford, Aurora, Champaign, and Quincy, along with Winnebago, Kane, Sangamon, Cook, and Adams Counties. We also have the experience to represent you in a third party lawsuit or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim. Call us at 312-263-6330 or 800-444-1525 or complete our online form.