What Is A Florida Workers’ Comp Independent Medical Examination?
If you are injured at work, you have the right to receive benefits under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws. Our system is designed to ensure that an injured worker receives the medical care he or she needs to recover from a work-related injury. It also provides benefits while the employee is out of work due to the injury.
Workers’ compensation insurance carriers are the same as other insurance companies — they do not want to pay any more in claims than absolutely necessary. One tactic insurance companies use to try to limit claims is the Independent Medical Examination.
What is an Independent Medical Examination?
Under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, an independent medical examination (IME) is defined as
“An objective evaluation of the injured employee’s medical condition, including, but not limited to, impairment or work status.”
An IME can be requested to assist in the resolution of a dispute arising under this chapter. Insurance companies may request an IME to further evaluate your workers’ compensation claim. An IME should be conducted by an independent medical examiner; however, this is not always the case.
What is an Independent Medical Examiner?
The workers’ compensation code defines an independent medical examiner as
“A physician selected by either an employee or a carrier to render one or more independent medical examinations in connection with a dispute.”
If your employer or its insurance company requests an IME, it will choose the medical examiner.
The IME should be like a “second opinion” to confirm the status of your injury but IMEs are often used by insurance companies to limit liability. The doctor chosen by the insurance company may be biased in favor of the insurance company; therefore, you may not receive the benefits you are entitled to receive under or workers’ compensation laws. Some of the things we have seen in IMEs include:
- The medical examiner states you are not as injured as you claim;
- You have a pre-existing medical condition or injury that contributed to the severity of your current injury;
- You have reached maximum medical improvement when you have not; and,
- The permanent impairment rating assigned by your doctor is too high or not valid.
Can I Fight an Independent Medical Examination?
Yes, there are things your workers’ compensation attorney can do to fight an IME. You can file an objection to the IME alleging it is not necessary or you can object to the medical examiner. There are cases where you may be required to submit to the IME with the medical examiner chosen by the insurance company; however, a skilled workers’ compensation attorney knows how to minimize the impact on your claim.
Contact a Boca Raton Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you have been injured at work, contact our office for a free consultation. Call The Broderick Law Firm, P.L. at 1-800-333-3903 to get more information about Florida’s workers’ compensation laws and independent medical examinations.