For workers hurt in a work-related accident, they may encounter an independent medical examination (IME). This special type of medical exam provides the workers' compensation insurer will important information about the hurt worker's health status. Your ability to move forward after a work accident can depend on the results of an IME so read on to learn more.
Understanding the Need for an IME
An IME is an evaluation of a worker's medical condition performed by a doctor or healthcare professional who is not the worker's treating physician. The purpose of an IME is to provide an independent and objective assessment of the worker's medical condition, and to help determine the extent of their disability and whether they can return to work.
What the Results Can Mean
Once the exam is complete, the results for forwarded to the workers' compensation insurer. The insurer could make some major decisions about your next steps because of the IME results.
Some typical results of an IME after a work injury may include:
- A determination of the worker's medical condition: The IME may confirm the extent and nature of the worker's injury or condition and provide a medical diagnosis.
- An evaluation of the worker's ability to work: The IME may assess the worker's physical and mental abilities and determine if they are able to return to work in some capacity, either full-time or with restrictions.
- A comparison to previous medical reports: The IME doctor may review the worker's medical records and compare their current condition to previous reports to determine if there has been any improvement or deterioration in their condition. That could mean the worker needs more time to recuperate at home.
- A determination of the need for further treatment: The IME doctor may recommend further medical treatment for the worker, such as physical therapy, surgery, or medication.
- A determination of the worker's disability rating: The IME may provide a disability rating that determines the degree of impairment and the worker's eligibility for benefits. In some cases, the IME will result in the determination of a permanent disability. In most cases, that means the worker is entitled to a workers' compensation settlement.
It is important to note that the results of an IME can have a significant impact on a worker's ability to receive workers' compensation benefits and return to work. It is important to consult with a workers' compensation attorney who can guide the worker through the IME process and help ensure that their rights and interests are protected.