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Independent Medical Evaluations and Your Maryland Workers' Compensation Case

If you present a workers’ compensation claim in Maryland, there is a strong likelihood that your insurance company will require you to undergo what is known as an IME, or independent medical evaluation. Unfortunately, despite the name, there is nothing really independent about these exams. The doctor is handpicked by the workers’ compensation carrier to carry out the examination.

Independent Medical Evaluations are Not Really Independent

Knowing that, it is pretty apparent where the doctor’s loyalty lies. If he or she was to report back in your favor, it is likely yours would be the last independent medical evaluation the doctor would be hired for, at least by your workers’ compensation carrier. This is not to say that the doctor will not be honest, but do not expect a report that strongly advocates for your position, especially as it relates to approving additional medical treatment.

Tips for Attending Your IME

It is important to remember some helpful tips if you have been scheduled for an independent medical evaluation related to your workers’ compensation claim. Some people question whether or not they have to go to an IME. You cannot blow off your appointment and expect that your claim will be accepted and paid.

  • It is important to keep your appointment. Failure to keep it could result in a suspension of your benefits, you could be held responsible for the doctor’s visit charges, and/or the insurance company could refuse to pay all bills accumulated to date.
  • Be honest but do not overshare. Only answer the questions asked and only with the information necessary. If you are asked about this accident, do not mention other accidents from years ago, as they might try to claim your injuries were pre-existing.
  • Do not fake or exaggerate your injuries thinking the doctor will be more likely to side in your favor. Doctors know when patients are faking it or lying. It will likely backfire and, at a minimum, wind up as a note in his or her report. You should not underestimate your pain either. Tell the physician the full range of injuries, accurate pain levels, if the injury affected your other activities and daily life, etc.

Why is an IME Requested?

IMEs are not requested in every claim, but they are common. Some of the reasons an IME might be requested include:

  • It is believed that your injuries are not consistent with the mechanism of injury;
  • There is a question as to the necessity or reasonableness of some medical treatment or bills;
  • They want to get the injured person back on the job soon;
  • There is a need to determine whether there is a permanent injury resulting from the workplace accident;
  • There is skepticism about your injury;
  • Concerns of fraud;
  • There is a challenge on the causal relationship between the accident and the injury and/or treatment that followed; or
  • One party would like to have medical treatment terminated.

Contact a Maryland Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you are concerned about potential bias in your workers’ compensation claim, it is important to have a Maryland workers’ compensation attorney on your side. An experienced attorney is likely already familiar with the insurance company’s doctor and may even be able to predict what he or she will say in a report. Contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro today at 301-870-1200 to schedule an initial consultation. Let us assist with your personal injury or workers’ compensation claim and help you get the compensation you deserve.

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