The Los Angeles Work Injury Attorneys

Independent medical examinations after a workplace injury: 4 key questions

On Behalf of | Jun 3, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Experiencing an injury at work can be a stressful and overwhelming event. As you navigate the path to recovery, understanding your rights and responsibilities can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

It is important for injured workers to know the role that an independent medical examination (IME) can play in their claim. What should you know about IMEs?

What is an independent medical exam?

An independent medical examination is an evaluation conducted by a medical professional who has not previously been involved in your care. In this exam, they provide an unbiased opinion on your injury, the treatment you require and your ability to return to work. When disputes arise between injured workers and insurance companies, an IME can resolve disagreements about the worker’s condition.

What should you bring to your medical exam?

Preparation is key to ensuring that the IME reflects the true extent of your injuries and its impact on your life. Some of the ways that you can prepare for an IME include:

  • Reviewing your medical history – Your medical history can play a key role in an IME. Gather all relevant medical records related to your injury and treatment. This includes doctor’s notes, diagnostic reports, MRIs, X-rays, prescriptions and treatment plans.
  • Listing your symptoms and limitations – Make a detailed list of all the symptoms you experience and how they affect your daily activities.
  • Dressing appropriately – Wear clothing that allows the examiner to easily evaluate your injury. For instance, if you have a knee injury, consider wearing shorts.
  • Arriving early – Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the appointment without stress. This also gives you a moment to review your notes and relax before the examination.

Taking these steps can ensure that you have the information you need during the examination and can approach this process with greater confidence.

Can you bring a witness?

Yes, you can usually bring a witness to an IME. A witness can be a family member, friend, or even a professional advocate. Having a witness present can help ensure that the examination is fair and that all relevant details are documented.

How will your employer react?

Your employer’s reaction to the IME can vary. Many employers understand that IMEs are a standard part of the workers’ compensation process. Some may remain neutral, simply facilitating the necessary arrangements for the IME.

However, your employer should not retaliate or discriminate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim or for needing an IME. If you have concerns about how your employer is reacting to your situation, it might be beneficial to discuss your concerns openly with them, consult with your HR department or call a workers’ compensation attorney for guidance.

Undergoing an IME can be a crucial step in your journey toward recovery after a workplace injury. With the right preparation and support, you can advocate for your health and your rights.