The Dreaded IME (Independent Medical Exam)
At any time after a workers’ compensation claim is filed, not just during the litigation phase, the employer or insurance company can schedule a medical examination with a doctor of their choosing. Insurance companies call these IMEs (Independent Medical Examinations) but you shouldn’t. In practice, there is nothing independent about these exams. These physicians typically examine many, many injured workers for the same insurance companies over and over. In addition, many times they charge the insurance carrier five hundred dollars per examination, as opposed to eighty-five dollars they would actually charge a patient coming for treatment. They then generate a lengthy report that is sent to the insurance company or its attorney. There is no doctor-patient privilege, and the claimant is not there for any therapeutic or medical reason.