The Importance of your Independent Medical Examination/Defense Medical Examination
An independent medical examination/defense medical examination is a medical examination conducted by a medical provider who may provide an expert opinion on your medical condition, your treatment, or the level of any disability that you currently have. An IME/DME is typically administered by the insurance company.
When you have a workers’ compensation case because of a work-related injury, your treating doctor will make decisions such as:
Assessing if you have a permanent disability
If the insurance company questions any of your medical treatments (surgery, injections, therapy), you will most likely have to undergo a medical evaluation with another doctor who is believed to be neutral. Insurance companies will request an IME/DME to question the medical opinion of your physician. Following the exam, the doctor will issue a report answering questions about your condition, which may include one or more of the following:
Were you correctly diagnosed?
Did a motor vehicle or workplace accident actually cause your injury?
Do you need additional treatment?
A DME can significantly affect your workers’ compensation case. The physician appointed to perform your Defense Medical Examination is NOT a neutral medical provider. This provider is being paid for his/her time by the insurance company. Do not expect the physician to have the same bedside manner that your treating doctor may have. Physicians are being paid by insurance companies, often times giving them an incentive to lower the insurer’s cost by minimizing the extent of your injury and your need for potentially expensive medical treatment.
Victims of work injuries should attend an IME/DME with no expectation of a normal physician/patient expectation. Anything you tell the physician may be used against you to potentially jeopardize your case. There is no physician/patient privacy. Tell the truth and do not embellish or minimize your injuries. If you have yet to hire an attorney be sure to do so before you are sent to an independent medical examination/defense medical examination.