If you have recently been injured at work and you needed to file for a worker's compensation claim, you may be required to submit to an independent medical exam. It is often required by either the insurance company or the employer as part of initiating or continuing the claim. Because its results can impact the determination or continuation of your benefits, it is a good idea to know what the exam will consist of.
You Will Be Waiving Your Right to Much of Your Confidentiality When You Have an Independent Medical Exam
It is first important to note that in a typical medical appointment, you will usually be guaranteed confidentiality from your employer or other unapproved parties. However, to provide you with the appropriate care and benefits, the information from your exam can be shared with the following:
- Your employer
- Their insurance company
- Other related professionals
That information can include the results of any drug or alcohol tests. One of the primary goals of your medical visit will be to determine whether or not your pain, illness, or injury was caused by your injury. Once that is confirmed or denied, your worker's compensation claim will continue.
Time Limits Will Impact How Soon You Need to Have an Independent Medical Exam
There are different state laws and policies for worker's compensation claims.
It is important to note that it is impossible to generalize any of the following information:
Exactly what your experience with the insurance company will consist of
How much time you will have to report your injury
Time limits to seek medical care, including an independent medical exam
Emergency Medical Care Does Not Qualify as an Independent Medical Exam
It is not unusual after an injury at work to be seen very soon in an emergency room. That visit will give a preliminary diagnosis and suggest appropriate treatment, but will not provide ongoing care. Therefore, you will need to see another doctor for further treatment.
That doctor might offer an independent medical exam, but it is also possible to get a new exam later on if the insurance company or your employer does not believe some of the earlier findings. For example, it is common to request this type of exam if one of those two wants to verify that your current level of disability remains the same.
In conclusion, following a work-related injury, you should expect to receive an independent medical exam. Although the exam itself is fairly standard, it is still helpful to know what the exam will consist of.