Meta Pixel Code

Independent Medical Examinations in Workers Comp

Navigating the world of workers’ compensation claims can be daunting, especially when it involves an Independent Medical Examination (IME). This guide sheds light on IMEs and their significance in Florida workers’ compensation.

If you have been hurt at work anywhere in the Sunshine State, our Florida workers’ compensation lawyers at Work Injury Rights are here to help you. Contact us today for a free case review.

What Is an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?

An IME is a medical assessment performed by a physician who is not involved in the patient’s regular care. This examination is often requested by employers or their workers’ compensation insurance companies for various reasons, such as seeking a second opinion on a recommended medical treatment, obtaining more favorable work restrictions, or as part of an effort to change treating physicians.

Legal Provisions for IMEs

In Florida, IMEs are governed by Florida Statutes 440.13(5). This statute allows an employer to require an IME even if the workers’ comp claim is denied and the employer is refusing to pay medical benefits. The IME must be conducted by a physician licensed and practicing in Florida and be at a reasonable time and place.

Employee’s Rights and Duties in IMEs

Employees have certain rights and duties when it comes to IMEs. They have the right to have their own physician present at the exam. However, employees who refuse to attend an IME risk having their workers’ compensation benefits cut off until they comply.

Direct Communication Between Employer and the IME Physician

Unlike most medical treatments, an employer or its insurance company is allowed to communicate directly with the IME physician. However, the IME doctor’s report and all communications to the doctor from the employer must be provided to the injured worker within ten days of the receipt of the report by the employer.

Influence of IME on Workers’ Compensation Claims

The outcome of an IME can significantly influence a workers’ compensation claim. The IME can provide a diagnosis of the condition and recommend a plan for its treatment, determine whether a medical condition is work-related and eligible for compensation benefits, or determine whether a claim should be closed based on a worker’s current medical condition.

you must submit to the medical exam ordered by the workers comp insurer

If an employee fails to attend a scheduled examination, the insurer may suspend benefit payments until the employee complies.

Preparing for an IME

Preparation is key for an IME. You should be punctual and bring any relevant medical records with you. It’s also advisable to bring an observer with you to the exam, except for mental health exams. The observer can watch the exam, take notes, and serve as a witness if needed.

Differentiating Between an IME and a Regular Medical Evaluation

While both an Independent Medical Examination (IME) and a regular medical evaluation involve a health assessment, they are distinct in their purpose and context.

A regular medical evaluation is usually conducted by a patient’s primary care physician and is focused on diagnosing and treating the patient’s health condition. This evaluation is part of the ongoing patient-doctor relationship and is centered around the patient’s overall health and well-being.

Conversely, an IME is a specialized examination carried out by a physician who does not provide regular care to the patient. The aim of an IME is to provide an objective assessment of a patient’s condition, often to clarify issues associated with a claim. Unlike a regular medical evaluation, an IME is an in-person clinical evaluation that may or may not involve a review of previous records.

IME in a Workers Compensation Perspective

In the realm of workers’ compensation claims, an IME is often requested by employers or their workers’ compensation insurance companies for various reasons, such as seeking a second opinion on a recommended medical treatment, obtaining more favorable work restrictions, or as part of an effort to change treating physicians.

In essence, while both an IME and a regular medical evaluation assess a patient’s health, they serve different purposes and are conducted in different contexts. A regular medical evaluation is part of ongoing patient care, while an IME is a specialized examination often used in legal or insurance contexts to provide an impartial assessment of a patient’s condition.

Call Our Florida Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today!

If you have a workers’ compensation case in Florida and your employer has scheduled an Independent Medical Examination, it is advisable to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney.

Our lawyers have a combined 45 years of experience and can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact Work Injury Rights at 954-833-5226 today for a free case review.