Independent Medical Exam in Tampa Workers Comp Cases

Many injured workers get worried when they hear that they need to submit to an independent medical examination. They believe that the doctor appointed by the insurance company will dismiss their injuries and order them to go back to work.

However, as a Tampa workers comp lawyer knows, things are not as bad as they look.

Let us discuss the issue of independent medical exams (IME) and their role in your workers comp claim.

Is the IME Doctor Reliable and Unbiased?

There are many ethical debates on the role and acceptable conduct of an independent medical examination doctor. On one hand, they are paid by the workers comp insurance company, whose main objective is to deny their claim.

On the other hand, as a healthcare professional, they swore an oath to do whatever they can to help a patient. No doctor who wants to keep their license will disregard severe injuries and symptoms, some of which may lead to life-changing disabilities.

On the other hand, as far as it is safe to do so, they may try to dismiss minor signs of discomfort and pain.

Can You Avoid the Independent Medical Examination?

The IME is your employer’s right under Florida workers compensation law. Thus, if you refuse to submit to this examination, your claim will most likely be dismissed. The best approach is to be cooperative and vigilant and well-informed in order to get a fair result on your IME.

Here are some helpful tips for preparing for an independent medical examination:

1. Read Your Medical Reports to Freshen Up Your Memory

The IME doctor will ask you several questions about your workplace accident, what you did afterwards and how it is limiting your ability to work. Then, they will compare your answers with what you initially reported to your employer and to the first doctor who treated you.

Any discrepancy will be deemed suspicious. To avoid this, your Tampa workers comp attorney will advise you to take the time and re-read your initial injury report and the medical record issued by the ER doctor. Make sure that you do not exaggerate any symptom, and do not fabricate new ones when talking to the IME doctor.

independent medical examination

2. Bring a Friend with You to Observe the IME

You have the right to have someone with you during the independent medical examination. They may not interfere or ask questions, but they can note everything going on, such as:

  • How the IME doctor treats you
  • Types of physical tests you must undergo
  • Any questions the doctors ask and your answers

This third party observation may be essential if there is a dispute between what happened during the IME and what the doctor wrote in their report.

3. Do Not Volunteer Information

If the IME doctor does not ask about a pre-existing condition or old injury, you do not have to tell them. In many situations, the existence of another health condition is used as a reason to deny your claim.

You do not want to offer the insurance company any ammo against you. However, do not lie if you are asked outright about any past accidents or health problems. They are on your medical record and the insurer will find out about them.

4. Ask for a Copy of the Independent Medical Examination

As the subject of the medical exam, you have the right to obtain a copy with the IME doctor’s findings and recommendations. Make sure to bring it to your lawyer to have a look and understand what the insurer’s next move could be.

This will help your attorney prepare the legal strategy for proving the validity of your claim and negotiating benefits.

Discuss Your Pending IME with an Experienced Tampa Workers Comp Lawyer!

After a workplace accident, you should expect to receive a notification that you have to attend an independent medical examination. For this reason, you should discuss every aspect you are worried about with your Tampa workers comp lawyer.

Your attorney will offer you helpful advice so that you do not make any mistakes that may hurt your claim. Reach out to us as soon as possible after your work injury to schedule a free case review: 786-249-7999!

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