Independent Medical Examinations

If you are injured in an accident or on the job, you may be required to participate in an independent medical examination (IME). The insurance company may request the IME to confirm the extent of your injuries and the severity of any impairments. The IME is an important step in the claims process for personal injury cases and workers’ compensation claims.

What Is an Independent Medical Examination?

What Is an Independent Medical Examination?

Florida workers’ compensation laws define an independent medical examination as an objective evaluation of a person’s medical condition. The IME is also used in some personal injury cases.

A medical examiner is a physician selected by the party requiring the IME. The medical examiner performs numerous tests to confirm your injuries, determine an impairment rating, and evaluate your work status.

You could lose your workers’ compensation benefits if you do not attend the IME. In a personal injury case, the court could dismiss your lawsuit if you fail to participate. If your case continues, the court may restrict the medical evidence you can present at trial for failing to attend the independent medical examination.

What Are My Rights When Taking an Independent Medical Examination?

Even though you must attend an IME, you have rights. Those rights include:

  • The party requiring the IME is responsible for paying for the cost of the examination.
  • You cannot be required to travel a long distance to attend the IME.
  • Your lawyer can attend the examination with you.
  • If the requesting party does not like the results of the independent medical examination, they cannot require you to take a second IME for the same condition.
  • You have the right to review correspondence related to your injuries between the IME physician and the insurance company.
  • You have the right to receive a copy of the written report prepared by the examiner and dispute errors in the report.
  • You can correct any factual mistakes made by the medical examiner.

It is important to remember that the medical examiner is not your personal physician. There is no doctor-patient confidentiality. Therefore, anything you say can be included in the IME report. The information could then be used against you in court.

Essential Things To Keep in Mind as You Prepare for an Independent Medical Examination

Attending an IME can be stressful. Things to keep in mind as you prepare for the IME include:

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for the examination.
  • Assume you are being evaluated from the moment you arrive in the parking until you drive away.
  • Assume you are on video from the moment you arrive until you leave the parking lot.
  • Arrive at the exam location on time.
  • Do not exaggerate symptoms or injuries. However, be honest about the level of pain you experience during the various tests and your inability to perform tasks.
  • Do not discuss the details of your personal injury or workers’ compensation case with the physician. Be straightforward and truthful, but don’t provide information that was not requested.

Your Fort Walton Beach injury lawyer will discuss your IME in further detail. They may provide additional guidance based on the specific elements of your case.

What Should I Do After an Accident in Fort Walton Beach, FL?

Most workers in Florida are covered by workers’ compensation. If you are injured at work, you should be able to file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits. Workers’ comp benefits include medical treatment and income replacement (i.e., disability benefits).

However, workers’ compensation does not reimburse you for all losses. For example, you cannot receive any compensation for your pain and suffering damages (i.e., non-economic damages). Also, your disability benefits do not equal your total lost wages. You receive about 66 2/3 of your average weekly wages as disability benefits in a workers’ comp case.

However, you may have a third-party claim if someone negligently or intentionally caused your injury. A third-party claim could result in additional funds for your workers’ comp case.

You must report your workplace injury to your employer within 30 days of the injury date. Failing to report an injury within 30 days could result in your workers’ comp claim being denied.

A personal injury case usually does not need a notice of claim unless it involves a government entity. As with a workers’ comp case, you should seek immediate medical treatment for your injuries. Document your injuries and your expenses (i.e., economic damages).

Do I Need an Attorney for an Independent Medical Examination in Florida?

If you have not hired a Fort Walton Beach injury lawyer by now, you should consider doing so. If you are attending an IME requested by the insurance company, the company may intend to dispute your injuries.

A Fort Walton Beach injury lawyer understands the law. An attorney protects your rights and fights to obtain a fair outcome for your case.

If you have questions about an independent medical examination, workers’ compensation claims, or personal injury cases, contact Brannon & Brannon Personal Injury Lawyers at (850) 863-5297 for a free consultation.