If you have been injured on the job in Iowa, you may have heard the acronym “IME.” The Independent Medical Evaluation (IME) is an important part of your Iowa workers’ compensation claim.
What is an Independent Medical Evaluation (IME)?
The IME is a medical assessment of a work injury that injured Iowans can use to resolve questions about how the injury affects your ability to work.
If you get hurt on the job in Iowa, the workers’ compensation insurance company has to pay for your medical care. They also get to choose your doctors.
Aside from the doctors they choose to provide you treatment, the employer can also send you to a different set of doctors. These doctors will not treat you, but will give their medical opinions about:
- Your level of physical impairment
- What permanent physical restrictions you may need, and
- Whether your injuries were caused by your work activities.
Because Iowa law gives the employer so much power in directing your medical care, the law also has a mechanism to help level the playing field for injured workers – the IME. This is a second opinion by a doctor that the injured worker can choose.
How Does the IME Help Your Iowa Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Your IME doctor will review all of your medical records and meet with you to provide an in-person evaluation. They will address which injuries are and are not related to your work activities, what your physical impairment rating is, and what physical restrictions you should follow as a result of your injury.
The IME doctor will not actually provide treatment, but they may offer suggestions about additional medical care that may be beneficial. The workers’ compensation insurance company will pay for the IME, as long as the insurance company’s own doctor can provide an impairment rating first.
Typically, the injured worker only can receive one IME at the employer’s expense, so it’s important to get it right the first time. It is essential to choose an objective doctor who is experienced in conducting these evaluations.
Do not let the insurance company choose your second opinion IME doctor for you. You have the right to choose your own doctor for this evaluation. It’s a good idea to contact an experienced Iowa workers’ compensation attorney before you exercise your right to an IME.
How Can an Iowa Work Comp Lawyer Help With My IME?
An Iowa work comp lawyer can advise you on when is the appropriate time to exercise your right to an IME. They can also help you find a qualified IME doctor and prepare you for the evaluation.
Finally, the attorney can make sure the doctor has all of your pertinent medical records and answers all the necessary questions about your injuries to support your Iowa workers’ compensation claim.
If you have further questions about IME’s, contact RSH Legal today at 1-319-774-1542.