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Tips for Navigating a New Jersey IME

You don’t have a choice about attending an IME—if you want your benefits, you’ll have to go. 

Unfortunately, IMEs are a highly stressful situation. How can you maximize your chances of getting an honest, fair evaluation that helps your workers’ compensation case?

Understand the Function of an IME

Independent medical examinations aren’t meant to treat you. Instead, they’re meant to determine the extent and nature of your permanent disability and the effect your injuries have had on your life. 

In short, it’s an insurance company’s attempt to set the value of your case and your potential settlement. 

Of course, they choose the doctor, and they are hoping the doctor is going to rule primarily in their favor. Often, they do. One judge said that IME doctor reports are so predictable that “it’s almost a waste of time to read the report because you know what it’s going to say.” Whenever possible, an IME doctor wants to rule an injury is not work-related or that your pain and disabilities are psychological. 

Thus, you could also read the IME as an insurance company’s attempt to set your case’s value to “zero.” 

Be polite. This person isn’t on your side, but rudeness or sarcasm on your part can be used against you. 

Stay Honest

Because an IME feels like an adverse process, you may be tempted to lie or hide things from your doctor. Instead, it’s very important that you remain as honest as possible. 

You should also give details to ensure the doctor has a full picture of what’s going on with you. If you have medical records, X-rays, or other imaging documentation, it’s a good idea to bring that information as well. Don’t assume the doctor will have any of that information on hand.

IME doctors are still medical professionals, and they must still evaluate all the information you’ve presented to them. If they fail to do so, your attorney can use that failure to your advantage.  However, your attorney won’t have much to say if you don’t try to give them the information to begin with.

Take Notes

Try to take notes during and after your visit. Note what you discussed, the amount of time the doctor spent with you, and anything the IME doctor said. You can discuss those notes with your workers’ compensation attorney.

The notes may also be helpful when you seek a second opinion, which you have the right to do. When you seek a second opinion, you get to choose your own doctor. 

Bring a Witness

You have the right to bring a witness to your IME. Have a friend or family member attend and take their own notes. 

The witness can help you by providing testimony about the IME. For example, if the IME doctor was dismissive or spent very little time with you, the witness can attest to that fact in a court of law. 

Request a Copy of the Report

You should request a copy of the IME report from your insurer in writing. You may not get the report, but you can try. 

If you get a copy, you can ask your second-opinion doctor or your treating doctor to write a rebuttal.

Don’t have an attorney yet?

By the time an insurer is calling for an IME, you definitely need an attorney to protect your interests.

The team at Talone Law has extensive experience helping patients like you. Contact us to schedule a free evaluation today.

See also:

What To Do If You’re Sent for an IME in New Jersey

When Can a New Jersey Employer Deny Your Workers Compensation Claim?

Why Is It So Difficult to Get Workers Compensation?

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The Law Office Of Albert J. Talone is committed to providing for those with Workers Compensation cases throughout New Jersey.
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New Jersey
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