IME is a misnomer. It stands for Independent Medical Exam, but everyone in the Utah workers' compensation system knows it is NOT independent. An IME is a bought and paid for insurance exam. Insurance companies schedule IMEs to control costs, deny cases and/or push injured workers into less expensive medical options.
However, if the workers compensation insurance company requests one, the injured worker is required by law to attend. I always recommend that my clients be prompt, respectful and as helpful as they can. Answer the questions asked in short, simple answers. The IME doctor will not write down (or even really listen to) a long explanation. It is also important to answer the irrelevant questions asked. IMEs love to deny claims based on the idea that the injured worker is "hiding something" by refusing to answer questions. Most importantly, please remember that the insurance company likely has video surveillance of you. You do not need to be severely injured to get workers compensation benefits. Let the IME doctor know what things you CAN do. For example, if you are asked if you can work in the garden and you have tried to work in the garden, don't just say "no it hurts" explain that you tried but after 20 minutes it causes too much pain. (Or whatever your actual experience is.) That way, if they have video of you gardening, you have not stated that you cannot garden. The IME doctor will not tell you his findings and cannot give you a copy of the report directly. However, the IME doctor will send the report to the adjuster and the adjuster will give you a copy if you request it. In the end, the insurance company will follow the IME report. However, you are not required to accept it. If the insurance company refuses benefits or medical care that the treating physician recommends, contact an attorney for legal assistance. __________________ K. Dawn Atkin
Attorney with Atkin & Associates