Independent Medical Exams In Florida
If you have been injured on the job and are seeking workers’ compensation coverage, you will be treated by a doctor of your employer’s choosing. If, though, there is any dispute between you (or your doctor) and the insurance company over your treatment, you may be asked to undertake an independent medical exam (IME) from a third-party doctor, ostensibly to get an unbiased viewpoint on your injuries and your potential future treatment options. That said, an IME can have a major effect on your chances of getting your bills covered, and an ‘unbiased’ doctor is not always biased.
Florida law defines an independent medical examination as an “objective evaluation” of an injured employee’s medical condition in order to (hopefully) “assist in the resolution of a dispute” having to do with workers’ compensation. Usually these are requested by a workers’ compensation insurance company, ostensibly to clarify issues like the employee’s disability level or choosing a certain course of treatment. However, too many insurers use the IME as a glorified weapon to try and push the injured employee back to work more quickly than recommended.
Because independent medical examiners are generally chosen by either your employer or their insurer, they are the ones who get to choose the doctor performing the exam. It is perhaps comprehensible that many doctors will want to give good news to the entity paying the bills; however, it is not acceptable that some will under-report your injuries for the purpose of getting the insurance company off the proverbial hook.
You Can Contest It
If you are asked to go through an IME, you should be aware that in many situations, you do not have to comply. If you have an attorney, you may be able to file a motion objecting to the IME’s relevancy or usefulness – this is not always successful, but it is generally worth trying, given the potential damage that an IME can do to a valid claim. However, if your objection is denied, it is crucial that you attend, regardless of the potential issues for your claim. Florida law states that if you fail to appear at the time the IME is scheduled, your workers’ compensation benefits will stop until you submit to the exam.
It is important to keep in mind that the report from the independent medical examiner will likely carry quite a lot of weight in any court proceeding, given that Florida law sees these professionals as experts. This does not mean that it is not worth your time to try and dispute any findings you believe are erroneous or malicious. If you know your medical history and know what you are looking for, you can still ensure that your medical treatment is in the best possible hands.
Call An Orlando Workers’ Compensation Attorney
An independent medical exam can be a frightening moment for someone who has been injured at work, because while many doctors are honest and ethical professionals, just as many will tell an insurance company what they want to hear. Having an Orlando workers’ compensation lawyer on your side can help eliminate some of your concerns. The Hornsby Law Group has years of experience with these types of cases, and we are ready to try and assist you with yours. Contact our offices today, toll free, at 866-300-5468 to schedule a free consultation.