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My Employer Wants Me to Have an “IME” After My Work Injury. What Does That Mean?

Posted on - Wednesday, July 20, 2016 under Workers Compensation My Employer Wants Me to Have an “IME” After My Work Injury. What Does That Mean?

If you’ve been injured in a work accident and want your medical mills covered by workers’ compensation, you need to see a physician approved by your employer (except in cases of emergency). But even though you may receive care from an employer-approved physician, your employer or their insurance carrier may want to get a second opinion. Maybe they disagree with the doctor’s diagnosis as to the nature or extent of your injuries. Maybe they disagree with the treatment that the doctor is recommending. Regardless of the reasons, your employer and their insurer may notify you that they want you to attend an Independent Medical Examination (IME).

Under the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act, the employer or their insurance carrier have the right to compel an injured worker to appear for an IME paid for by the employer. If you want to keep receiving workers’ comp benefits, you need to submit to this exam. If you refuse to submit to the IME “or in any way obstruct such examination requested by and provided for by the employer,” your right to benefits or to pursue a claim for benefits “shall be suspended until such refusal or objection ceases.” O.C.G.A. 34-9-202.

The problem with many IMEs lies in the “I”. While the doctor conducting and IME is supposed to be “Independent” and provide an objective, unbiased opinion as to the worker’s condition, the reality is that the doctors who perform IMEs for workers comp insurers are picked by and paid by the insurers. Performing IMEs can be a steady and lucrative business for a physician, so consciously or otherwise they may have an incentive or bias to offer opinions that are tilted in favor of the employer and insurer. That’s not to say all or even most physicians who conduct IMEs will offer biased opinions, but it can be a factor in whether you obtain all of the benefits to which you are entitled under the Workers Compensation Act.

Not all IMEs are performed at the request of the employer, however. If you want a second opinion or an IME, you can request that one be performed by a doctor of your choice. This IME will be paid for by the employer so long as proper notice is given, the examination is conducted at a reasonable time and place, either within this state or within 50 miles of your residence, and the exam occurs within 120 days of receipt of any income benefits

The Parian Law Firm: West Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers

At The Parian Law Firm, we take pride in protecting the health and the rights of injured Georgia workers through skilled representation in workers’ compensation matters. If you’ve been injured on the job and are seeking workers’ compensation benefits, please give us a call at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff today.