What is an IME Workers Comp Medical Exam?

What is an IME Workers Comp Medical Exam

If you filed a workers’ compensation claim after being injured at work in Minnesota, you may be asked to submit to an Independent Medical Examination (IME) and wonder, “What is an IME?” An IME is a medical exam performed by a doctor other than your treating physician whom your employer or its insurer chooses to provide an opinion about the nature and extent of your injuries and whether they were sustained on the job.

The Minnesota workers’ compensation attorneys at Robert Wilson & Associates can assist you in all aspects of your work comp case. From preparing the claim to answering questions about the IME to seeking your maximum benefits, you will have an advocate on your side while you recover from your injuries.

What Is the Purpose of an IME?

The purpose of a workers’ compensation independent medical examination is to obtain an objective opinion from a neutral doctor concerning the extent of your workplace injuries. Under Minnesota law, you must submit to an IME if your employer requests one.

Because your employer or their insurer selects the doctor who performs the IME, it is not uncommon that their report will show your employer was not responsible for your workplace injury. For example, some doctors will report that your injury was temporary and quickly resolved or was not a result of your work duties. This is why it is crucial to have a skilled and knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer to fight for the benefits you deserve.

What Does IME Mean in Claims?

Although the doctor is considered neutral and independent, IME doctors will commonly issue a favorable IME report for the employer and their insurance company because they choose and pay the doctor. Unfortunately, despite medical records supporting your work injury claim, many doctors will develop a summary of your medical history and examination and produce an unfavorable IME report for you.

Based on your prior medical history and medical records related to the injury, we can often anticipate what the IME report will show. However, you must submit to the IME because failure to do so could result in the termination of your workers’ comp benefits. Further, you may even have to pay a penalty if you do not appear for an independent medical examination for workers’ compensation.

What Questions Are Asked During an IME?

During the IME, the doctor will perform a physical exam and interview you concerning your work injury. During the appointment, they will ask about your symptoms and pain levels after the injury. The doctor will further question you regarding your medical history, how the accident that caused your injury occurred, and any other injuries you have sustained. The appointment usually takes an hour, and your employer must pay for this time if you have to miss work.

When you submit to an IME, your complete medical history is “fair game,” as the doctor assesses this injury and investigates whether you have sustained similar injuries in the past. For example, if you hurt your back at work, the doctor will review your medical records to determine whether you have a history of back injuries and back pain.

Because the employer or their insurer selects the doctor to evaluate you and offer an opinion regarding your workers’ compensation injury, a doctor-patient relationship is not formed that would prevent the doctor from disclosing information you share during your appointment. Instead, the IME doctor may share any and all information you reveal during the discussion portion of your appointment.

What Is the Difference Between IME and IMR?

What is an IME Workers Comp Medical ExamAs discussed above, an IME is a process where a neutral physician conducts a physical examination of an injured worker and interviews them concerning the mechanics of their workplace injury, their symptoms, and their medical history. An IME differs from an IMR (independent medical review) in that the IMR, which is a medical or peer review, often occurs first and does not involve an in-person examination of the patient.

Contact a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

At Robert Wilson & Associates, we understand that injured workers can struggle to obtain the fair workers’ compensation benefits they need after an injury from their employer. As experienced Minnesota workers’ compensation attorneys, we know the tactics employers and their insurance companies sometimes use to unfairly deny or reduce their employees’ claims. Rest assured, we will fight for the benefits you deserve. Contact us today at (612) 334-3444 to get started with your case. Your consultation will be completely confidential.