Insurer’s Independent Medical Exam
At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, we work on behalf of injured workers seeking medical care and benefits under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act. Employees who have been hurt in a work accident or suffer from a job-related medical condition have a right to benefits from their employer for costs associated with their medical treatment. Additionally, if an employee misses work due to a job injury, the Act provides for the recovery of lost wages. Unfortunately, employers and their insurance carriers may challenge an injured worker’s allegation of causation, work-related restrictions, or treatment recommendations. Our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers are skilled in dealing with any potential issues that arise as workers seek medical treatment and care.Understanding the Insurer’s Independent Medical Exam
Employers are entitled to have an injured worker seeking workers’ compensation benefits examined by a physician of the employer’s choosing. As established in Section 12 of the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act, employers or their insurance companies may use an Independent Medical Examination (“IME”) to assess details surrounding the employee’s claim, including the nature and extent of their alleged work-related injury and the expected duration of compensation that may be payable. According to law, the employer is responsible for any costs associated with the IME, including any missed work wages and travel costs that the employee incurs to travel to the location of the examination.
Case law has held that employees are required to submit to an examination, and the employer has the ability to temporarily suspend their workers’ compensation benefits until the exam occurs. An Independent Medical Examiner, selected by the employer or insurer, will ask questions about the worker’s injury and document their findings in a written report. The doctor may simply issue this report, or they may provide testimony regarding their opinion at a workers’ compensation hearing.
After an Independent Medical Examination, the IME physician must give their examining report to both the employee and the employer as soon as practicable. If the case is set for hearing, this report must be received no later than 48 hours before the time that the case has been set for hearing. This notice requirement, according to courts, serves to prevent one party from using surprise medical testimony against the other party.
In some situations, an injured worker’s treating physician may disagree with the findings of the Independent Medical Examination. For example, if a claimant’s doctor opines that the claimant requires knee surgery, but the IME doctor refutes this, a skilled worker's’ compensation attorney may help by presenting a strong claim that the treating physician's opinion holds more weight.Retain a Job Injury Lawyer in the Chicago Area
Overcoming challenges to workers’ compensation claims for medical treatment and benefits may prove complicated, particularly when an employer or its insurer has mandated an Independent Medical Exam for the injured worker. At Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson & Bareck, our Chicago attorneys only represent workers’ compensation claimants, rather than employers, and we appreciate the emotional impact of an employer’s challenge to a claim for medical benefits and treatment. Our skilled job injury lawyers can carefully document causation for work-related injuries and set forth strong evidence showing the true extent of the harm. We are proud to help workers and their families throughout Illinois, including people in Rockford, Springfield, Aurora, Winnebago, and other areas of Adams, Cook, Kane, and Champaign Counties. To schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a dedicated attorney, call our office at (800) 444-1525 or contact us online.