Understanding Your Workers’ Compensation Independent Medical Exam

Southern Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

Suffering a serious injury at work can leave you with more questions than answers. Not only do you need an effective diagnosis, you need a treatment plan that will help you recover as much as possible after your injuries. In some cases, an independent medical exam can help you get the treatment you both need and deserve following a serious injury.

What is an Independent Medical Examination?

When you suffer an injury at work, you will need to submit an injury report and work with workers’ compensation to seek treatment for your injury. Most workers’ compensation insurance companies have a specific list of medical providers who can provide care for your injury. You may have the option of choosing one of those providers, or you may have one chosen for you.

An independent medical examination is performed by a doctor other than the one handling your case. If you ask the workers’ compensation company to pay for an independent medical examination, they may require to use another doctor from their network, which could bias the results. You can also choose to pay out of pocket or through your personal medical insurance for an independent medical examination from an outside provider.

When Should You Have an Independent Medical Examination?

You always have the right to request an independent medical examination following any serious injury, and using an independent doctor can help give you a second look at your injuries and your options for treatment. However, you should always ask for an independent medical examination if:

1. The doctor handling your case does not seem able to properly diagnose your injury.

If the doctor cannot find the source of your pain or has diagnosed an injury that seems dramatically different from the one you suffered, including the injuries described during an emergency room or urgent care visit following the initial injury, you should visit another doctor for an independent medical exam.

2. The doctor handling your case is providing inadequate treatment for your injury.

In some cases, the doctors who work directly with workers’ compensation firms will attempt to minimize the extent of your injuries and your treatments in order to decrease the financial responsibility of the company. You may notice several red flags:

  • You aren’t making adequate or predicted process toward recovery, in spite of doing everything suggested by the doctor.
  • You notice that your treatment is drastically different from someone with similar injuries and independent insurance.
  • Your treatment plan changes, particularly diminishes, due to use of workers’ compensation insurance.

3. You cannot get approval for needed treatments.

In many cases, the doctor may start by recommending a certain line of treatment, then back down because of the workers’ compensation company. If you cannot get adequate treatment approved, an independent medical examination can help move the process along and get you the assistance you need.

4. The doctor does not seem to listen to your concerns.

You may clearly describe your symptoms or pain to your doctor, but feel as though you’re getting little or no response. In some cases, this may be due to the workers’ compensation insurance and the doctor’s agreements with that company. An independent medical examination can help clear up any confusion.

5. You’re unsure about the treatment recommended by your doctor.

Even if your doctor seems to be giving adequate care to your case, you still have the right to an independent medical examination if you have any doubts or questions about your treatment. That exam can help provide peace of mind and help you know that you’re going the right direction for your recovery.

Do you need a workers’ compensation attorney to help answer questions or help you pursue the medical treatment you need after your injuries? Contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your claim.