An IME (Independent Medical Exam) is not a second opinion!
My office often gets panicked phone calls because an injured worker received a notice in the mail of an IME. They are very confused about what is going on. The workers compensation insurance company is allowed to order an IME (or 2 or even 3) for several different reasons but, basically, an IME is in exam by an independent medical doctor. The insurance company wants to see if a new doctor will agree with the action or course of treatment the workers compensation doctor is recommending or to see if the IME doctor believes the injured worker’s recovery is on track.
Here’s the catch – the IME doctor will evaluate you (and, hopefully, all of your medical records and/or diagnostic reports) and write a report that is sent to the workers compensation insurance company. The insurance company will review the report and then may approve or deny something (testing, exams, injections, surgery, return to work status, and so on) based on this report. The IME doctor merely evaluated you, he/she is not treating you and has not followed your treatment and progress like your workers compensation treating physician has. Sometimes, workers compensation insurance companies can be really sneaky about the IME and tell injured workers that based on the IME report that they can go back to work, they don’t need surgery, and so on, even when the injured worker’s doctor says otherwise. This can be a problem and will likely require an attorney to step in.
If you find yourself in a situation like this, call an experienced workers compensation attorney immediately!