Michigan workers comp lawyer explains the consequences for missing an IME appointment and how you can truly protect your interests.
Anyone who has had a personal injury at work knows about the dreaded independent medical examination (IME). This is when your employer or its insurance company have you examined by a doctor of their choosing. You will not receive any medical treatment as the doctor is only there to give an opinion about your medical condition.
The bottom line is that these doctors are not independent. Insurance companies use the same doctors over and over again because they know what to expect. Many of these doctors make a career out of testifying for insurance companies and earn hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
One doctor out of Garden City, MI performed 2718 insurance company examinations over a span of 3 years. With an average charge of $1,000.00 for the examination and deposition testimony, this works out to be $2,718,000.00 in income. Do you think this doctor may have a conflict of interest regarding your claim?
It is common for IME doctors to find that an injury is not work-related or that an individual has recovered and can go back to work. This is despite what the treating doctor believes. Once the insurance company has its IME report, workers compensation benefits can be disputed.
Here is the really bad news about the IME
Michigan law requires that you attend an IME appointment if scheduled by your employer or its insurance company. Should you fail to comply with this request, you could end up forfeiting your workers comp benefits.
Now this does not mean that you must keep a specific appointment if you have a scheduling conflict. But repeatedly avoiding the IME will result in a loss of workers comp. Even if you are not currently receiving benefits, you could be prohibited from proceeding with your case.
How to deal with the IME doctor
The IME is standard procedure for nearly all workers compensation claims in Michigan. Unfortunately, you are not allowed to record the examination or bring anyone except your doctor with you.
Be polite and try to cooperate the best you can. Don’t have an attitude or become defensive as this can be used against you. You will be given the opportunity to present your own medical evidence in court.
Make sure that you take some time before the IME to think about how you were hurt at work and what problems are keeping you from working now. Don’t exaggerate your symptoms as this can be detected during the physical examination.
Get help from an experienced workers comp lawyer
We recommend that you hire a workers comp lawyer as soon as you are scheduled for an IME. A workers comp lawyer will be able to cross-examine the IME doctor and expose a bad medical opinion. Don’t wait until your workers comp benefits are stopped to seek help.
To speak with one of our workers comp lawyers in Michigan, call (855) 221-2667 for a free telephone or office consultation. We never charge a fee unless you are successful with your case.
– Alex Berman is the founder of Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers. Hes been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers comp benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.