An Independent Medical Evaluation, better known as an (IME), is an examination that is scheduled by the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier for your employer when you are filing a claim for work injury benefits, or if you have been on workers’ compensation for at least 6 months. The carrier has the right to have you attend an IME 1 time every 6 months to assess your condition and capability to return to work.
What should you expect? You or your attorney will receive notice that the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier has scheduled an IME which you must attend. You will not be given a choice on the date and time, and if you are already receiving workers’ compensation benefits, failure to attend the same could result in a suspension of your workers’ compensation wage loss benefits, although your medical benefits would continue.
If the Dr. assigned to perform the IME says that you are “fully recovered,” you can rest assured that the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier will file a Termination Petition to attempt to terminate your wage loss and medical benefits. If not contested, this could lead to devastating financial and health results, as you could literally lose all of your workers’ compensation benefits.
If the Dr. assigned to perform the IME says that you are capable of returning to work at some “medium, light, or sedentary job capacity”, then the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Carrier will most likely file a Modification or Suspension Petition to totally or partially reduce your wage loss benefits, although your medical would continue.
If you find yourself scheduled for such an examination, you should consult an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to help you fight for your rights, such as ensuring that time limitations are met, and the examination itself is appropriate.
Paula Robinson, ESQ.