Hurt workers are entitled to benefits from their employer's workers' compensation insurance. In some cases, the worker has to undergo a special medical exam so they can continue to be eligible for benefits. This exam is unlike any other you've probably had, and the results can mean major changes in your benefits. Read on to find out more about the independent medical examination (IME) and what might happen if the result is challenged.
Why Have an IME?
The workers' compensation insurer is intimately involved in your medical status after a work-related accident. They will be monitoring your progress, treatment, diagnostic tests, and more while you are staying home and recuperating. If you have been out of work for some time and your doctor has not ordered you to return to work, the insurer might need to get even more information about the progress of your healing. Not all injuries heal completely, and there is the possibility of having a permanent injury. If that should happen, your current benefits will morph into others.
When Challenges Are Necessary
The IME is performed by a doctor of the insurer's choosing and the results can be an unpleasant surprise for some hurt workers. This doctor has the power to override your own doctor's ruling and send you back to work immediately. Unfortunately, you may disagree with such a ruling. Fortunately, you do have some options as far as the ruling goes, but you may need legal help to get things straightened out. At the other extreme is when you are ruled to have a permanent disability. You may disagree with this ruling and feel that you should return to your job. Anytime you don't agree with the results of the IME, you have the right to request a second opinion IME.
Talk to a Worker's Compensation Lawyer
A lot is riding on making the right decision when the IME provides you with an unexpected ruling. There are consequences when you challenge a ruling, and the procedures going forward can be confusing and complex. Speaking to a workers' comp lawyer means getting expert advice about what you need to do to ensure your future earnings are not compromised. If you do have a permanent injury, you may be offered a lump-sum settlement, and you'll need help with negotiating for the best settlement for your needs. Speak to a workers' comp attorney in your area to learn more.
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