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What Happens During an Independent Medical Examination?

Female doctor explaining diagnosis to her patient.

When claims for workers’ compensation insurance benefits are disputed, the opinion of a neutral physician may provide helpful insight into the injured worker’s condition and prognosis. This examination, known as an Independent Medical Examination or IME (sometimes known as a Compulsory Medical Examination or CME), may often be requested by a workers’ compensation insurer, an employer, an injured worker, an attorney, or a judge who has been tasked with resolving a dispute over benefits. In some cases, IMEs will be conducted on a regular basis while payment of benefits is ongoing. IMEs may be requested in other types of personal injury cases, as well. You can learn more below about what happens during a typical IME, and how you can protect your client’s rights during or after an independent medical examination.

Independent Medical Examiners will consider a patient’s history and current condition

Prior to an Independent Medical Examination, the physician conducting the IME will receive a copy of the patient’s medical history, prior and current treatments, compact discs with imaging studies, and any available reports relevant to the claim for benefits. The physician will usually examine these records prior to the examination and tailor the inquiry accordingly. Often prior to taking a history from the examinee and performing a physical examination, a questionnaire will be filled out by the examinee covering areas such as mental health, activities of daily living, work-related functions and pain inventories. Following this, a history is taken from the examinee along with a physical examination. This might include general observation of the patient’s demeanor and movement patterns, looking for consistency of the description of their injuries, objective and subjective tests, and tests for malingering. All of this is used to evaluate the basis and legitimacy of their claim for benefits.

An experienced Independent Medical Examiner will often ask the individual to describe the accident and the injuries they suffered as a result and ask for clarification, often by presenting the same question in multiple ways. The physician will also conduct multiple tests of the examinee’s physical abilities. In this way, the physician will have the opportunity to see whether the examinee’s representations about their capabilities are consistent. The evaluation may include both objective scans or measurements and subjective tests involving verbal descriptions of how a particular movement feels or how far they can move before suffering pain. The results will be presented in a detailed report created by the examiner. This will outline the individual’s current physical condition and the examiner’s opinion on the likelihood that the injuries have had the effect as claimed by the individual and originated from the work-related events described.

Qualified and Experienced Independent Medical Examiner Practicing Nationwide

If you need the services of an experienced physician who has been in active practice for the past 29 years, is a Fellow of the American Board of Neurological Surgery, and is certified by the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners, contact the offices of Dr. Jeffrey Oppenheimer at Neurosurgery Medlegal Services, LLC for a consultation at 866-659-8051.

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