Workers' Comp: You Don't Have To Accept Your IME Results
Workers' compensation insurance benefits are not guaranteed. If you are hurt on the job, your employer's worker's compensation plan is supposed to pay for your medical expenses, a partial salary while you stay home, and more. Unfortunately, the workers' compensation process is filled with opportunities for problems. One of those problem areas is the independent medical exam (IME). This is an exam and the results of it can bring devastating news to some hurt workers. Read on to find out more about the IME and what you can do when the results of the IME are not to your liking.
The Independent Medical Exam – What to Know
Not all hurt workers are subject to an IME. This exam is meant to identify workers who are ready to return to work, that are permanently disabled, or that need more time to heal from their injuries. Every day that you stay home from work you are costing both the workers' comp carrier and your employer money. That being said, you have a right to fully recuperate before you return to work. This exam is conducted by a doctor of the workers' comp choosing and is more about evaluation than treatment. Once you have been examined, the IME doctor will forward their results to the workers' comp carrier and you will be told what your next steps might be.
When the Results of the IME Are Not Good
If you feel your injury is healed enough, you might not disagree with the result of an exam ordering you back to work. Unfortunately, some workers are threatened that if they don't go back to work they could not only lose their workers' comp benefits but their jobs. You might also be told that you can remain on benefits for a given period of time before another IME is conducted. Two results of the IME, however, may cause you some concern.
- If you are told to return to work and you are not ready.
- If you are told you are permanently disabled.
Not Ready to Return to Work
In some cases, the IME results are contrary to your own doctor's opinion. Never return to work when you are still recovering from an injury. You could end up making things worse. Instead, speak to a workers' compensation lawyer about your case immediately.
This finding means you will be offered a lump-sum settlement. The fairness of that settlement, however, can be questionable. The best way to ensure that you get the money you deserve is to speak to a lawyer and let them negotiate on your behalf.
Speak to a workers' comp lawyer to learn more. Companies like Neifert Byrne & Ozga can help.