How do I prepare for an Independent Medical Exam (IME) in Kentucky?
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you may be asked to undergo an independent medical examination (IME). An IME is intended to clarify your medical condition, what is the necessary treatment, if you have any impairment and to what degree, and your ability to work. Usually, an IME is requested by an insurance company because they do not agree with your treating doctor—the doctor you usually go to for work-related injuries—about your treatment or the disability rating that the treating doctor has given. But a judge or hearing officer may also order an IME as a way to resolve the disputed issue in your case. Your employer may also request an IME, as well as the defense attorney in your case.
If the insurance company disagrees with your treating doctor, then they will pick the physician to perform the IME. Although this is called an independent medical exam, you will want to take this term with a grain of salt if you are asked to submit to this type of evaluation. Doctors selected by insurance companies usually have a somewhat symbiotic relationship—the doctors get referrals from the insurance companies, and they will want to continue that relationship by providing insurance companies opinions that favor them, specifically minimizing your injury so that the insurance company pays out a lower workers’ compensation award.
Attending the IME
With all this in mind, when you go to your IME, it would be helpful to take a family member or trusted friend with you. Not only will that be helpful for you to have some support, but that person can be a second set of eyes and ears by taking notes about the IME—what kinds of tests and questions were performed and asked, the doctor’s actions, when the exam began and ended. By gathering this evidence, anything that was overlooked or possibly suspicious can be examined by your personal injury attorney.
Do remember that the physician conducting the IME and the insurance company that picked them has a mutually beneficial relationship that will most likely not be to your benefit, but their own. So a negative report from the IME, one that lessens the severity of your injuries, is to be expected and you shouldn’t be concerned about it. Instead, an experienced Kentucky personal injury lawyer can thoroughly assess the IME and determine if it wasn’t as thorough or detailed as it should have been (e.g., your medical history wasn’t taken into consideration), thus undermining the findings altogether.
This relationship between the doctor who performs the IME and the insurance company will be examined by your attorney—specifically how long the two parties have worked together, how many IMEs the doctor has performed for the insurance company, and how much the insurance company has paid this physician over the course of their relationship. By establishing the nature of this relationship, your attorney can cast a shadow of doubt onto the physician and his findings.
The IME is just a part of the workers’ compensation claim process and although it can be frustrating to go through, having skilled Kentucky personal injury lawyers by your side, guiding you through the process, will not only help lessen the anguish but also help you to get the compensation that you rightfully deserve. You don’t have to let an IME and the report intimidate or discourage you.
Kentucky IME Attorney
Lanna Martin Kilgore, Attorney at Law, knows the pain and suffering that can come with a work-related injury. She understands the frustration of trying to obtain workers’ compensation but is highly capable of cutting through the red tape of the IME process as well as the whole workers’ compensation claim process. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury on the job and have been denied a workers compensation claim, contact us today for a consultation. Call 270-846-3700 or visit our contact page.