An IME, or Independent Medical Examination, is what happens when the workers compensation insurance company demands that you go to a doctor of their choice so that your injuries may be evaluated. Naturally many workers are nervous about this process because the doctor doesn’t seem entirely objective.
What happens if the doctor lies about the extent of your injuries, claims they were the result of a preexisting condition, or otherwise spins a story that benefits the insurance company at your expense? And who is paying for this anyway?
Here’s everything you need to know about IMEs in New Jersey.
The insurance company must pay for the IME.
If the insurance company wants you to get an independent medical examination they must pay for it. In most cases they must choose a doctor that’s a reasonable distance from your home or workplace.
These arrangements are very lucrative for doctors. There is a clear conflict of interest and most have every incentive to side with the defense wherever possible. Nevertheless, you’re still going to want to go. You want to show that you’re complying with the insurance company’s investigation of your injuries.
You have the right to a second opinion.
You should think about getting a second opinion even if you trusted the IME doctor. In many cases you won’t: it’s not that uncommon for these doctors to spend less than 5 minutes with patients before finding in favor of the insurance company.
The insurance company will not necessarily pay for this opinion, though you can ask. They are also not bound to pay any attention to the second opinion. The value of getting the second opinion is to use that evidence on your behalf if they deny your claim or try to send you back to work before you are physically capable of going.
Contact an attorney before you take any additional steps.
Before seeking a second opinion it’s important to involve an attorney in the process. Otherwise you may end up having to pay for the trip because your own insurance company may deny the claim, kicking it back to the worker’s comp provider who will then claim they don’t have to pay for it.
With an attorney’s help, you can get authorization from your own insurance company so that you can avoid undue or unwarranted medical bills.
It’s no surprise that some employers will do anything to avoid paying. Yet you don’t have to take this kind of treatment. Reach out to the Law Offices of Albert J. Talone today to get the help you deserve with your worker’s compensation claim.