With every workers’ compensation claim comes an independent medical exam (IME). Because the medical exam is such a crucial part of the workers’ compensation claim, with the doctor’s report weighing significantly on the workers’ compensation settlement, it is important that injured workers understand what is involved with the workers’ compensation independent medical exam.
The following is a list of 5 things that injured workers need to know about a workers’ compensation doctor visit:
- You will need likely need to see a doctor chosen by your employer or its insurance company, even if you have already seen your own doctor. Illinois workers’ compensation laws allow employers to arrange for an independent medical exam, provided that the employer provides the employee with sufficient notice of the doctor visit, pays for the doctor visit, and reimburses the employee for his or her travel expenses to the doctor visit. It is important to note that the travel expenses should be paid in advance of the doctor visit and that the employee should not pay any portion of the medical expenses associated with the medical exam.
- Although the workers’ compensation doctor visit is called an “independent” medical exam, employers often choose those doctors that will present medical information to support their defense. Accordingly, it is important to hire a workers’ compensation attorney who can refute the information provided the employer’s doctor.
- Beware of certain defense tactics. Because the doctors who perform the independent medical exam are hired by the employer or its insurance company, they often perform a series of tests or ask questions that are designed to get information that can be used to deny or limit the amount of your workers’ compensation claim.
- It is critical that you attend all medical exams, including those arranged by your employer or its insurance company. The failure to attend scheduled doctor visits, especially the employer-arranged independent medical exam, can result in the suspension of workers’ compensation benefits.
- You should be honest and cooperative with the doctor performing the independent medical exam, but avoid sharing attorney-client communications with the doctor.
- Information obtained from an independent medical exam or any other doctor visits related to the work-related injury can be used to support or dispute your workers’ compensation claim.
The Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca have a long history of proving the compensability of work-related injuries. Because of our knowledge and experience handling workers’ compensation claims, we are familiar with the tactics used by the “independent” medical examiners chosen by employers and insurance companies. We work closely with medical specialists and experts to get the evidence and information that we need to support our client’s claim and we can refute any contradictory information used by the defense. Our Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys have successfully prosecuted workers’ compensation cases involving employers in a wide range of industries, including airline companies and unionized employers.
Contact us at (800) 444-1525 for a free consultation with one of our knowledgeable Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers.