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What to Expect at an Independent Medical Exam in Your Workers’ Compensation Claim

medical_examIf you file a workers’ compensation claim but it's denied by your employer’s insurance company, you may have to fight to obtain the benefits you deserve.

As part of the resolution of your case, you may be asked to attend an independent medical examination (IME). Because it can have a big impact on your claim and how much benefits you receive, it's a good idea to understand what an independent medical exam is and what to expect when you participate.

What Happens at an Independent Medical Exam?

A medical provider conducts an IME so he can issue an expert opinion about some area of dispute in your workers’ compensation claim. Employers often request them to obtain an opinion in their favor as to the seriousness of a worker’s injury, the treatment needed, long-term prognosis, and the level of disability a worker has a result of the injury.

If your employer's insurance company schedules one in your case, it's hoping for an opinion that will help justify denying or reducing your worker’s compensation claim. Here’s what could happen at your exam:

  • The physician likely has obtained and reviewed your accident report, medical records, x-rays, and other diagnostic tests prior to your exam.
  • The physician takes a medical and family history from you and asks about your current medical symptoms and limitations. He'll also ask for the specific details of how you were injured.
  • The doctor performs a short, one-time examination of you. He may also order diagnostic tests. Remember: he's doing this medical exam for the insurance company, not to help with your treatment.
  • The doctor writes a report summarizing his observations and conclusions after your examination that could be used in your workers’ compensation case.
  • Some doctors also watch you going to and from the examination from your vehicle to see if you're walking better, running, or doing something that you claim you can't do.


An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you prepare for your independent medical exam. If your employer is denying your claim for workers’ compensation benefits, fill out my online form to schedule a free consultation to learn how I can help you fight for your benefits.