The independent medical examination (IME) is something every worker who makes a claim for workers compensation must submit to. There may be more than one IME depending on the facts. The insurance company or employer must make the IME request in writing and adhere to strict protocols of notice in the letter. The IME notice letter must include the date, time, and place of the exam; the procedure for changing the date, time, and place; and the independent medical examiner's area of specialty. The notice must also explain the employee's rights to have a personal physician present at the exam (employees never utilize this option because of the expense), to request and receive copies of all reports generated from the exam, and to have a translator present if the employee has difficulty communicating in English. Wis. Stat. § 102.13(1). The injured worker cannot be required to travel more than 100 miles, as the crow flies, to participate in the examination unless (1) the ALJ determines that circumstances warrant the claimant's traveling a greater distance, or (2) the place where the claimant has been treated is more than 100 miles from where the claimant lives. Wis. Stat. § 102.13(4). Mileage expenses or transportation must be tendered in advance. Wis. Stat. § 102.13(1)(b). By departmental policy, expenses include wages lost as a result of the examination.
In Wisconsin an independent medical examination of the injured worker can be requested by an employer or its workers compensation insurance company after the employee makes a workers compensation claim. There can be more than one exam but generally only once IME doctor for each claimed body part injured. Wis. Stat. Sec. 102.13(1). The travel to an IME appointment is usually limited to 100 miles and the insurance company must provide transportation or reimburse for mileage. Wis. Stat. Sec. 102.13(4). They must also pay TTD for any lost wages as a result of the IME appointment. The injured worker and his or her attorney should view IME appointments carefully. Insurance companies do have the injured claimants followed to and from the appointment to record on video how the injured worker is moving around and to verify that they can sit in a car for certain lengths of time, especially if the treating doctor has limited sitting or driving restrictions in place.
An independent medical examination has been scheduled by my workers compensation insurance adjuster. What do I need to know about the workers compensation independent medical examination? Do I prepare for the workers comp IME? Will the IME doctor ask me questions? Is the IME doctor a real second opinion?