If your work-related injury requires further scrutiny, you might be asked to undergo an independent medical examination (IME). This exam is very different than your typical exam, and what the doctor finds could impact your workers' compensation claim in a major way. Read on to find out more about the IME and what to do when the results are unsatisfactory.

What to Know About the IME

This exam is performed by a doctor that works under contract with the workers' compensation insurance carrier. As you might imagine, the doctor may have a vested interest in providing a report to the insurance agency that might not be favorable to you. After your exam, the doctor will prepare a report that explores the current state of your injury and what treatments have been tried up to now. If the workers' comp insurance provider is questioning any aspect of your claim, you can expect the doctor to focus on that issue. For example, if you claim to have lingering back pain even after treatment, they will attempt to diagnose your issue in regard to your returning to work or not.

When the Results Are Not in Your Favor

The opinion of the workers' comp IME doctor carries a great deal of weight. For example, if you appeal the decision of the insurance carrier to return to work, the workers' comp administrative law judge may place more weight on the opinion of the IME doctor than that of your personal doctor or the doctor that has been treating you for your injury. When it comes to conflicting opinions, you are less likely to win a challenge based on an IME doctor's opinion.

Challenging the IME Results

That is not to say that the results cannot be challenged. In some cases, you might be able to present convincing evidence that contradicts that of the IME doctor's findings. Once you are facing an IME result that is not in your favor, speak to a workers' compensation attorney. You will need the support and expertise to go against the workers' comp insurance carrier and their legal team. Many times, your opportunity to challenge the results comes from errors and omissions in the results. If the IME doctor was not provided enough medical history to make a good decision, for example, you may be provided a reconsideration. Mistakes concerning your injury, treatment, diagnostic results, and more happen all too often. You should be prepared to access your medical records to show discrepancies and have the ruling overturned. You may also have the right to have another IME performed by a different doctor. Speak to a workers' comp lawyer to learn more.