Be Wary Of The Independent Medical Exam (IME)
If you are receiving workers’ compensation for a long-term or permanent disability, you can be summoned periodically to an independent medical exam, or IME. The stated purpose of an IME is to assess your medical progress and re-evaluate your treatment plan.
In reality, insurance companies are often fishing for a reason to reduce your benefits or terminate your disability claim altogether. If you have been scheduled to report for an IME, you should contact an attorney to protect your rights. The law firm of Thill & Freeman, PLLC practices exclusively in workers’ compensation, and we only represent injured workers, never the employers or insurance companies.
The Not-So-Independent Examination
Independent medical exams are conducted by physicians who have been hand-picked by the insurance companies. They are real doctors, but their IME findings tend to favor the employer and insurer:
- Recommending against surgery or other necessary treatments
- Sending the employee back to work without restrictions
- Clearing the employee to return to light duty or part-time
- Downgrading the functional impairment rating (thus reducing benefits)
- Recommending termination of permanent disability benefits
Your IME Rights And Responsibilities
Clients often ask if they can decline an IME. Under Minnesota workers’ compensation law, you must submit to the exam on the scheduled date. Failure to appear can result in immediate termination of your claim. However, you do have rights.
- Your treating physician can accompany you to the IME.
- You can seek a second opinion (at your own expense).
- You can reach out to the Qualified Rehabilitation Consultant (QRC) assigned to your case.
- You can appeal any change to your benefits resulting from an IME.
We Are Firmly On Your Side
Attorney Mark Freeman has over 30 years of experience in workers’ compensation. He can help you prepare for the IME, including questions to ask, specific things you should get on the record and what not to say to the examining doctor.
Mr. Freeman can fight any attempt to reduce or terminate your disability benefits or help you dispute a denial of medical authorization. An independent medical exam is cause for concern, but strong and proactive legal advocacy can make a difference in the outcome.
Thill & Freeman, PLLC has clients in St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Golden Valley, Edina and throughout the West Metro, and we regularly represent injured workers anywhere in Minnesota. For a free consultation and case evaluation, call 952-232-1752 or email us.