If you are planning on applying for workers’ compensation in Minnesota, you’ll be required to undergo an independent medical exam to document your injuries. This will be separate from the medical care you received in the aftermath of your injuries, and you’re going to want to plan for this appointment so you don’t jeopardize your claim. Below, we explain some things you’ll want to know about your upcoming IME after a work injury.
Your Independent Medical Exam
How is your IME different than your normal medical appointments after your work injury, and what should you know before your assessment? Here’s a look at some of those answers.
Your IME Is Different – You IME is completely separate from your regular medical appointments that you’re receiving as part of your injury treatment. They will have access to your medical records, but their goal is to examine the full extent of your injuries and provide a disability rating. Your IME doctor will also give a professional opinion as to how long your injuries can be expected to affect your employment. It’s important to remember that your IME doctor is not there to help you get better or to help you get the benefits you need, they are simply trying to provide an assessment to be used when determining compensation. Don’t assume they have your best interests in mind, unlike your primary care physician.
You Have To Go – If you are filing a claim and your employer’s insurance company requests that you attend an IME, you will be required by law to get an evaluation if you want compensation. Your lawyer should be able to work with the other side to get you set up with an IME physician that is nearby and available on a date that fits into your schedule.
You Can’t Choose Your IME Doctor – You can choose which doctors provide treatment for your injuries, but the insurance company is the one who will pick your IME doctor. Oftentimes they choose doctors that have a history of writing favorable injury reports for the employer, but it’s worth noting that the evaluation of your primary care or treating physician carries weight before a workers’ compensation judge as well.. Moreover, if you’ve been assigned a qualified rehab consultant, they are advised to create a rehab plan based on the opinion of your treating physician, not your IME doctor.
You Should Prepare For Your IME – You should make sure that you are prepared to answer some of the questions the IME doctor may ask prior to attending the evaluation. You don’t want any answers to conflict with previous records, so review the accident report and your account of how your injuries came to be. If you don’t remember something, don’t guess. Providing misinformation can serve to hurt your case. Stick to the facts and talk to your lawyer prior to attending the evaluation, as they can help prepare you for some of the questions you may be asked. This evaluation can hurt your case more than help it if you aren’t prepared, so talk with your lawyer about the best ways to get ready for the meeting.
If you keep these tips in mind and have an experienced lawyer by your side throughout the process, we’re confident that you will have an IME report that serves to help your case. For more information, or to talk to a lawyer in your area, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today.