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What is an independent medical evaluation?

Injured workers who receive workers' compensation benefits may be asked by their employer or the insurance carrier to have an independent medical evaluation.

So what is this evaluation? Is it required?

Under Georgia law, the payer of your workers' compensation benefits (either your employer or the insurance cannier) can request that you to undergo an independent medical evaluation (IME). If you refuse a reasonable request, your benefits could stop.

A workers' compensation doctor will perform the evaluation. Your employer will use this evaluation to determine:

  • If your injury is work-related
  • Whether your medical treatment is reasonable and necessary
  • Whether you are unable to work due to your injury

Since your employer pays the doctor, the IME may be biased toward your employer's interests. Your employer's aim may be to stop your workers' compensation benefits.

What can I do to protect myself?

It can be frustrating to submit to an independent medical evaluation from a doctor who does not know you. However, you should not refuse the IME. You should be polite and professional with the doctor performing the IME for the insurance company.

Now is a time when you could benefit from the advice of an experienced workers' compensation attorney. If you are not happy with the outcome of your IME, you may have the right to undergo an independent medical evaluation from a doctor of your choosing. You have a limited time to request a second opinion, so it's important to talk to a lawyer as soon a possible.

Learn more about your rights if your employer requests you to undergo an IME.

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