Practical Tips for Your Workers Compensation Independent Medical Evaluation

Once you’ve filed a workers compensation claim in Charlotte, North Carolina, you will probably be asked to attend a medical evaluation with a healthcare service provider who isn’t your physician. Known as an independent medical evaluation (IME), it’s meant to neutrally assess your condition. An independent medical evaluation can have a significant impact on the case and the amount you’ll eventually receive in benefits.

Understanding how IMEs work and preparing yourself will be important. This guide will highlight exactly what will happen during the IME and why you should consult with a Charlotte workers comp lawyer to ensure a positive outcome.

How Does Independent Medical Evaluation Work in North Carolina?

According to the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s Workers’ Compensation Act (Chapter 97), an employee who has suffered an injury will have to submit an independent medical evaluation whenever such is required by their employer or by the Industrial Commission.

The person who can perform such an evaluation is a duly qualified physician who is licensed to practice in North Carolina. The employer or other entity that asks for the IME is the one that pays for the procedure to occur.

A few other important highlights about IMEs in Charlotte include:

  • The doctor performing the evaluation has the right to review your medical history and examine you
  • Based on the findings, they will write a report that will be used as evidence during the worker compensation claim proceedings
  • Judges who handle workers compensation cases put a lot of weight on IMEs because they are delivered by a neutral expert
  • If you disagree with the evaluation’s findings, you have the right to challenge the physician’s conclusion or get a second opinion
your employer has the right to seek an independent examination after a workplace accident

Your Rights During an IME

While being examined by a medical professional who’s hired by your employer or an insurance company may sound scary, you do have rights. 

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act states that:

  • You have the right to be accompanied by a healthcare professional of your choosing during the IME
  • You have the right to receive the report resulting from the IME within 10 business days of receipt by your employer
  • You also have a right to request all documents and written communication that has taken place between the medical examiner and the entity that requested the IME
  • Whenever you disagree with the findings and write a request for a second opinion, your employer will have to pay for that procedure (as long as the request meets approval)

Getting Ready for a Charlotte Independent Medical Evaluation

Apart from understanding your rights, you can do a few more things to prepare for the IME. The most important ones include:

  • Find out what the IME physician knows: Your employer or the insurance company will send a letter to the IME physician, describing the injury you sustained. It’s your right to review this letter and the information it contains ahead of time. Going through the document will allow you to correct any errors that the documentation contains when you meet the IME physician. 
  • Understand the types of questions you may be asked: A physician will usually inquire about your diagnosis, the specifics of the work-related accident, the symptoms you’ve been experiencing as a result, the types of tests, and the medical treatment you’ve received.
  • Keep your answers short and accurate: As a part of their job, IME physicians will also look for inconsistencies. You will probably be asked about how the accident happened. This line of questioning is to establish whether your line of work has anything to do with the injury you sustained. Keep your answers short and accurate. Any deviation from the information you provided previously could be used against you.
  • Arrive on time: Being late for the IME could result in the discontinuation of benefits. Make sure you arrive at the venue ahead of time to reduce the risk of such occurrences.

Consult With a Charlotte Workers Comp Attorney 

As already mentioned, you are entitled to a copy of the doctor’s report that is going to be sent to your employer or the insurance company. Go over the document with your Charlotte workers compensation attorney. Together, you can identify inaccuracies or inconsistencies to challenge. If you don’t have a lawyer yet, this is the moment during which you should start looking for accurate and reliable legal representation.

Dealing with all of the steps that lead to receiving compensation on your own can be exhausting. Any small mistake or inconsistency will be used against you, reducing the chances of a favorable outcome. Let the 1Charlotte legal team guide you through the puzzle and pinpoint the strategy bound to deliver an optimal result. 

Contact us at 704-706-2689 to benefit from a free case review and our professional, personalized suggestions.