Independent Medical Exam – When It’s Done and Why It Is Important


Disputes over workers’ compensation, workplace accidents, and personal injury are prevalent for businesses of all sizes. Everyone engaged in these difficult circumstances wants to do the right thing. Unfortunately, collecting the real facts to resolve the dispute might be difficult. ( Suppose your company is engaged in an accident claim or personal injury. In that case, you have the right to an independent medical exam (IME) of the individual bringing the claim, known as the claimant.

The procedure of an IME may be unfamiliar to you, so we’d want to walk you through it, so you understand what an independent medical exam is, when it’s done, and why it’s important.

What Is an Independent Medical Exam and When Is It Done?

An IME is “the examination of a person harmed by a third party, independent medical practitioner to offer an unbiased assessment on the damage.”

For instance, if there is a dispute over a workers’ compensation claim, an IME allows insurance experts, doctors, lawyers, and employers to be on the same page. Independent medical evaluations often aid in the prompt and effective resolution of claims.

They also give services to insurance and legal groups when a business is involved in a conflict over the following problems:

  • Injuries caused by liability. If someone is injured on your property, you are frequently responsible for some degree of compensation. This might include everything from a slip-and-fall accident to food poisoning at a restaurant.
  • Disability claims. According to the definition of disability, a person must have a significant impairment that has persisted or can be anticipated to remain for at least one year. Medical documents must establish that the person will be incapacitated in these instances. In these cases, an independent medical examination might be critical.
  • Environmental hazard claims. These may include health problems caused by hazardous waste exposure, chemical spills, etc.
  • Worker’s compensation. This is most often when an employee experiences a job-related accident or illness due to their work. The harmed person generally seeks compensation or restitution for their situation.
  • Personal injury. Some worker’s compensation cases include car accidents, home accidents, or product defect incidents, often referred to as product liability.
  • Occupational danger claims. If you’ve heard of OSHA, you’re probably aware that businesses are expected to create a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. A workplace hazard is a risk to one’s health, limb, or life that is inherent or related to certain employment, industry, or work environment. This group encompasses the possibility of creating an accident as well as the possibility of producing a sickness.
  • Nursing home malpractice claims. As individuals age, many seek residency in long-term care institutions, and officials anticipate a significant increase in this category of claims. If a loved one is mistreated or abused in the nursing home’s facilities, or if a company employee causes injury to a patient, the facility may be held liable.

These situations are diverse, so the firm or household needs to have insurance.

Workers compensation medical exam may be sought to resolve disagreements about the extent of a person’s damage, sickness, or injury.

IMEs are conducted for a variety of reasons. A few of the causes why a worker’s compensation insurance carrier may recommend you to an approved medical expert are as follows:

  1. To determine your degree of whole-person impairment – Generally, the larger the percentage impairment, the more payment you will get from your employer’s insurance provider upon settling claims.
  2. To determine whether you achieve the 15% whole-person impairment threshold required to file a common law complaint against your employer;
  3. To evaluate if you are suitable for your pre-injury job or if you need to find other jobs;
  4. To assess the necessity for medical therapy, particularly when the treatment is costly, such as a fusion procedure.

Why Is Independent Medical Exam Important?

Typically, an IME is requested by your insurance company because it disagrees with your treating doctor’s choice regarding your course of medical treatment. Particularly if your health care professional advises surgery or other costly treatments or the degree of any lasting handicap, in rare situations, the assigned judge or hearing officer may also order an IME to address a contested issue in your case.

Here are some of its benefits:

  • Assists in identifying any hurdles to timely case resolution
  • Determines a suitable diagnosis and treatment strategy
  • Saves money by avoiding unnecessary treatment or incorrect diagnosis
  • Resolves a disagreement, worry, or query about medical care and an injured person’s health
  • In a legal or medical situation, provide an impartial opinion
  • May reveal a missing or incorrect diagnosis and aid in developing a new treatment plan to aid in the recovery of an injured individual

What to Expect From an IME

You may be worried if you are required to undergo an IME. However, there is no need to be frightened. Think about the following IME preparation ideas to help remove some of the mystique from the exam:

  • Prepare. Get organized a few days before your exam so you can answer any question concisely. You will most likely be questioned about any past injuries, how the event happened, your symptoms, and any prescribed or over-the-counter medications you are now taking.
  • Come early for your visit. You’re about to enter an unusual environment, so take some extra time to unwind in the waiting area and collect your thoughts. Early arrival will also give you enough time to complete any paperwork.
  • Recognize the examiner’s role. It is critical to note that the medical professional providing the exam is a consultant, not your care physician.
  • Maintain an optimistic attitude. Remember that an impartial doctor is examining you as part of a claim. His investigative exam and questioning are routine operating practices. Don’t take things personally.
  • Respect and honesty. It is unacceptable to lie about your injury or its repercussions during or after the exam. Be courteous throughout the IME, and your participation will be much appreciated.
  • Be prepared. Practice discussing your injuries with someone ahead of time, outlining the subjects mentioned above, and explaining how the injury has impacted your life. This will help you stay calm throughout the IME.
  • Take note of the date, time, and location of your exam. Get the doctor’s name who will evaluate you as well. Get whatever instructions you need in advance.

In many cases, speaking with a lawyer familiar with the IME technique before your test is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the procedure properly. Knowing the extent of your rights may give you more confidence during your IME session and acceptance of the results.

Assume you disagree with the IME report’s statements and cannot discuss the issue informally. You should immediately call a workers’ compensation attorney in such a scenario. An attorney may help protect your rights by filing objections, organizing a deposition to question the doctor, or requesting another examination.


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