What to Expect with an IME in an Indiana Workers’ Compensation Claim

What to Expect with an IME in an Indiana Workers’ Compensation Claim

Workers’ compensation provides medical benefits and wage replacement to employees who are injured or become ill due to their jobs. Filing a workers’ compensation claim in Indiana may involve multiple medical evaluations. You need a lawyer who understands the role of each examination and how it can affect your claim.

In this post, we’ll focus on the Independent Medical Examination (IME) in Indiana workers’ compensation cases. The IME may operate differently in this state than elsewhere.

An experienced Indianapolis workers’ compensation attorney can help you with your claim, explaining the purpose of the IME, preparing you for it, and protecting your rights throughout the process.

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The Insurance Company’s Medical Examination

Workers' Compensation With Attorney Hammer In Indiana, the insurance company has the right to have their doctor examine you after you file a workers’ comp claim. This examination aims to determine your maximum medical improvement (MMI), which is the point at which your condition has stabilized and is not expected to improve further with treatment.

Although conducted by a doctor selected by the insurer, this examination is not considered an IME in Indiana.

The insurance company’s doctor may determine that you have reached MMI and can return to work. The insurance company may use this evaluation to cut you off from your workers’ compensation benefits.

If this happens and you still feel too sick or injured to return to work, you may request an independent medical examination at your own expense or with an order from the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board.

The Indiana IME

In many states, the employer’s insurance company requests the IME and a doctor of their choosing conducts it. This can lead to concerns about the impartiality of the examination, as the doctor may have a financial incentive to minimize the extent of the worker’s injuries or disabilities.

In these states, insurance companies often use the IME as a tool to limit or deny benefits.

However, Indiana takes a different approach.

In Indiana, the insurance company’s medical examination is not an IME. Instead, the IME serves as a second opinion and the injured worker can request it if they disagree with the findings of the insurance company’s doctor.

This gives workers more control over the process and helps ensure a more balanced evaluation of their condition.

Another key difference is that in Indiana, the Workers’ Compensation Board appoints the IME doctor, ensuring a more independent evaluation than you would receive in most other states.

The IME report can provide evidence to support your claim, particularly if it contradicts the findings of the insurance company’s doctor.

How to Make a Workers’ Compensation Board IME Request

Worker Compensation & Disabilities BenefitsThe process seems relatively straightforward if you need to request an IME through the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board. You file a request with the Board either by submitting a written request or using the Board’s online filing system.

In your request, you should include your name, case number, the reasons for requesting the IME, and any supporting documentation, such as medical records or reports from the insurance company’s doctor.

Once the Board receives your request, it will determine whether your case warrants an IME.

If the Board approves your request, they will appoint a qualified, independent doctor to examine you. The Board will notify you of the date, time, and location of the IME, as well as any additional instructions or requirements.

While that seems easy enough, ask an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to request an IME through the Indiana Workers’ Compensation Board. They can guide you through the process, gather the necessary documentation, and protect your rights throughout your claim.

Avoid Mistakes While Preparing for Your IME

Failing to adequately prepare is one of the most significant mistakes injured workers make during the IME process.

Gather and review relevant medical records, make a list of symptoms and limitations, and practice articulating the impact of the injury on daily life and work. Lack of preparation can lead to inconsistencies or omissions in your statements during the examination, which may undermine your claim.

Another common error is exaggerating or minimizing the extent of your injuries. Be honest and accurate when describing your symptoms and limitations.

Exaggerating your condition may lead the IME doctor to question your credibility, while minimizing your injuries may result in an underestimation of your need for benefits. Stick to the facts as outlined in your previous statements and medical records.

Failing to disclose pre-existing conditions or prior injuries can harm your case. While you may want to downplay or omit this information, don’t.

If the IME doctor discovers that you withheld relevant information, it may damage your credibility and cast doubt on your entire claim. Speak honestly about your medical history and let your attorney help you navigate any potential challenges.

Some injured workers also neglect to follow their treatment plan in the lead-up to the IME. Skipping appointments, not taking prescribed medications, or failing to engage in recommended therapies can be seen as non-compliance and may convince an insurer that their condition is not as severe as they claim.

Finally, a common error is attending the IME without legal preparation. Consulting a workers’ compensation lawyer beforehand can help you prepare and avoid mistakes.

How a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help

Workers' Compensation LawyerAn experienced workers’ compensation attorney can:

  • Advise you on the best approach for obtaining an IME.
  • Prepare you for the examination and help you understand what to expect.
  • Review the IME report and use it to strengthen your claim.
  • Advocate for your rights and work to secure the benefits you deserve.

Our Indianapolis workers’ compensation lawyers are dedicated to guiding injured workers through every step of the claim process. We offer free case evaluations and work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you owe no fees unless we recover compensation for you.

Contact Klezmer Maudlin PC for Help with an IME Workers’ Comp Case

At Klezmer Maudlin PC, workers’ compensation is what we do. With more than 100 years of combined experience, our workers’ comp attorneys are well-versed in this area of the law.

We have a successful track record of helping injured workers receive the compensation they deserve. Our legal team will help you confidently navigate this challenging time as you rely on our support.

Contact us today to talk to a lawyer about assisting you with your workers’ compensation journey and the Indiana IME process. We serve clients throughout Indiana. Our lawyers will travel to you to help you with your case.

Call our Indianapolis office at (317) 569-9644 or contact us online at any time for a free consultation.