When a work-related injury happens, you will likely be covered by your employer's insurance coverage. Workers' compensation is really more of a stop-gap measure in most cases. It covers medical expenses and some lost wages for a period of time, but when that period of time passes, what then? Read on to learn what happens when your injury overstays its welcome.
The Independent Medical Exam (IME)
If you've not been able to return to work and several weeks or months have already passed, the workers' comp insurance carrier will want to know why. You must wait until your doctor has cleared to go back, but your employer needs you to work and the workers' comp carrier is questioning your injury. What should you do?
This is not a good position to be in, but it might just mean that your injury is about to be declared permanent. The workers' comp carrier will request that you undergo a special kind of medical exam. The IME is not like a regular exam since the doctor works on contract with the carrier and their sole purpose is to determine why you are still unable to return to work.
Take This Exam Seriously
Your benefits may be on the line if the doctor declares that you should be able to go back to work, regardless of what your own doctor and your own body are telling you. There are times when you need to get legal help with a workers' comp claim, and this is one of them. You should not be at work while still injured and you will need help to dispute that finding.
How Does This Exam Work?
In many ways, it's just like an ordinary exam and you will have your vital signs checked before the doctor sees you. This doctor, however, is not going to be providing you with any treatment for your injury nor will there be any prescriptions written. This exam is all about your injury and why you have not been able to return to work. There may be some diagnostic tests ordered, like x-rays, scans or blood work, but you may never see the results.
How Should You Ready Yourself for the IME?
Review your case history by looking back over your claim forms, accident reports, medical records and correspondence between you and the carrier and your employer. Be ready to explain to the doctor exactly why you are still having issues with your injury.
One thing the carrier is trying to determine is the potential that you may be permanently injured. If that is the determination, you will need help negotiating the settlement offer so speak to a workers' comp attorney as soon as you begin having issues with your coverage. Contact a firm, like Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP, for more help.
26 April 2018
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