How Does an IME Affect My Charlotte Work Comp Claim?

Numerous factors may be responsible for the outcome of your work comp claim in Charlotte, North Carolina. One of such factors is your choice of a North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer. That’s because an inexperienced work comp attorney will lack the resources to get you the maximum compensation that you deserve. Another factor is the outcome of your Independent Medical Examination (IME).

One of the essential steps to take after a work-related injury is to visit a doctor immediately. That’s right after you have reported the accident to your employer by filling the NCIC form 18. Many times, your employer will choose your treating physician for you. However, in emergencies, you may visit a doctor of your choosing and inform your employers as soon as possible.

Even after visiting your doctor, your employer may require you to undergo an independent medical examination. In addition, your employer will often mandate an IME to contest some issues in your treating doctor’s treatment plan. Consequently, the results from the examination will determine whether you will receive ample compensation for your injuries or not.

Is Getting an IME the Same Thing as a Doctor’s Second Opinion? 

It’s pretty easy to confuse independent medical examinations with a doctor’s second opinion in a workers’ compensation case. That’s because they both require you to submit to a doctor that isn’t your treating physician. However, they’re different terms used to describe distinct situations in a work comp claim.

The doctor/client relationship is the most significant difference between an IME and an employee’s second opinion. During independent medical examinations, the examining doctor doesn’t intend to treat you. Instead, their main goal is to resolve issues and questions concerning your medical condition or treatment options. As such, the doctor acts as an examiner and not your physician during an independent medical examination.

On the other hand, there’s the presumption of a doctor/patient relationship under the employee’s right to a second opinion. That’s because you may usually opt for a second doctor’s opinion when you disagree with your treating doctor’s diagnosis. Consequently, you’ll want them to treat you if your treating doctor minimized your injuries to make you resume work early.

How Will an Independent Medical Examination Affect the Outcome of My Work Comp Claim?

Always remember that the purpose of an independent medical examination is not to offer you treatment. If your employers request an IME, they’re doing so to determine your eligibility for compensation in your work comp claim. So, the examining doctors will conduct the test to detect any fraud in your claims. To do so, they’ll examine your medical records and history and pick subtle clues from your demeanor and appearance.

If the examining doctor finds any inconsistency in your reports, they’ll inform your employer about them. In turn, your employers and their insurance companies may act on such information to limit or deny your compensation. On the other hand, if the IME ends in your favor, the insurance company may approve your work comp claim. In such cases, you will start receiving your benefits as soon as possible.

If you find out that your employer erroneously denied your compensation claim, you can appeal against their decision. To do so, you’ll need help from a qualified workers’ compensation lawyer in Charlotte, NC. Your attorney will file an appeal at the North Carolina Industrial Commission (NCIC) and schedule a hearing on your behalf.

How To Prepare for an IME

An independent medical examination is an important meeting that requires adequate preparation and planning. To increase your chances of a favorable IME, you must do the following:

  • Arrive at the venue on time
  • Dress properly
  • Be familiar with the necessary details and facts of your case
  • Be polite, composed, and honest. Independent medical examiners are trained to catch you in a lie. So, refuse to misrepresent any fact or exaggerate the extent of your injuries.
  • Speak with a qualified workers’ compensation attorney before attending your IME.

Consult a Charlotte Workers’ Compensation Attorney ASAP!

IME’s are evaluations that a neutral medical doctor carries out to resolve specific medical disputes in a work comp claim. However, in reality, the examiners may work to your detriment. So, you must be ready to take adequate steps to prevent any injustice in your workers’ comp case.

That’s why you must speak with our workers’ compensation lawyers in Charlotte, NC, immediately. Our experienced attorneys will get you justice in your work comp case, no matter the complications in your case. So give us a ring to schedule a free consultation with us today.