What is an IME and Do I have to Go?
What is an IME?
An IME technically stands for an "Independent Medical Examination." But, it is really an insurer medical exam. In Oregon, workers' comp insurers may send injured workers to up to three IMEs. This is basically the insurer hiring a doctor to give an opinion as to whether you injury or condition is related to work. They are very common and one is scheduled in nearly every workers' comp case. The IME doctor will then draft a written report to the workers' compensation adjuster describing their findings and indicating whether they think you have a valid work injury. The workers' comp adjuster usually makes their decision about accepting or denying the workers' compensation claim based upon the results of the IME.
Do I have to attend an IME exam?
Yes. As part of the workers' compensation claim process, the insurer is entitled to request you go to up to three IMEs. You must participate in this process to continue with your claim. Keep in mind the IME doctor will not treat you. The IME doctor will merely perform an examination and usually ask questions about how the injury happened and about your medical history. It is generally a good idea to keep track of the length of the IME examination in case your workers' compensation attorney asks you about it later for your case.
What happens if I miss an IME exam?
There are a couple things that might happen if you miss an IME appointment. First, you should immediately contact the adjuster to get it rescheduled. Mistakes happen and they will generally re-set it with no problem if you missed the IME appointment by accident. If you want to continue with your claim, you will want to make sure to not miss the second appointment.
Second, the adjuster may request a suspension of your workers' compensation benefits. Because you are required to participate in the investigation of your claim, you must also go to IME examinations set up for you by the workers' compensation insurer. Your benefits can be suspended for failing to attend an IME or other types of refusals to cooperate (i.e., not responding to required letters).
However, it is relativley simple to have a benefit suspension lifted if you were not intentionally refusing to cooperate. If you have questions about an IME exam or are worried about losing your workers' compensation benefits because of one, you should speak to a workers' compensation attorney. Feel free to call me with questions any time: 503-975-5535.
For more information about workers' compensation benefits check out my website: www.oregonworkinjury.com