An Independent Medical Examination (IME) is an important step in the workers’ compensation process in New Jersey. Scheduled by your lawyer, an IME typically occurs after you have completed your treatment and your case is nearing a resolution. Both sides are required to arrange this medical examination, and your attendance is important as it significantly impacts the progression of your case.

We will further explain what the Independent Medical Examination is and why it’s so important in the following blog article. For any legal help with your NJ workers comp case, please reach out to us at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law. Our experienced team of NJ workers comp lawyers can assist you in ensuring that you take all the necessary steps needed to obtain the workers comp benefits you deserve. 

Purpose of an IME

Unlike regular medical appointments, IMEs are not conducted for treatment purposes. Instead, they are used to assess the extent of your permanent disability and evaluate how your injuries have impacted your ability to work and perform daily activities. The findings from this examination play a vital role in determining the value of your case. Judges often rely on the reports generated by these evaluations to decide on the extent of your disability and the compensation you deserve.

Preparing for Your Workers’ Comp IME

To ensure the IME accurately reflects your condition, it is essential to be completely honest and thorough when communicating with the examining doctor. Here are some steps to prepare:

  • Review Your Symptoms: Before the appointment, discuss your injury-related changes with a friend or family member. This helps you recall and clearly articulate your current complaints and limitations.
  • Bring Relevant Documents: Take all MRI and X-ray films related to your injury to the appointment. These documents provide objective evidence of your condition, which is crucial for the assessment.
  • Be Detailed: Even though the doctor will have your medical records, explain your symptoms from the beginning as if they know nothing about your case. Describe your pain accurately—whether it’s dull, sharp, radiating, or involves numbness, tingling, or burning sensations.
  • Consider All Impacts: Think about how your injury affects your daily life. Are there activities you struggle with or can no longer do? How has your injury changed your ability to perform daily tasks or enjoy past hobbies?

Communicating Effectively During the IME

Doctors performing IMEs are trained to identify if claimants are exaggerating their symptoms. Therefore, it’s crucial to communicate your pain and limitations accurately. Explain how your injury affects your everyday activities, no matter how minor they may seem. Detail any challenges you face, such as difficulty performing household chores or other routine tasks.

Handling Potential Challenges

If the defense doctor appears to downplay your complaints, don’t worry—this is a common tactic. Judges in the New Jersey Division of Workers’ Compensation are aware of this and often take such reports with skepticism. After your appointment, promptly inform your attorney about the details of your visit. Document what the doctor did or didn’t do and request a copy of the report to review any inconsistencies with your attorney.

Revisiting Your Original Treating Doctor

In New Jersey, the workers’ compensation insurance company dictates which doctor you see. If your case is reopened, you may need to return to your original treating doctor for an evaluation. Clearly communicate how your condition has worsened since your case was last resolved. If the doctor minimizes your complaints or denies additional treatment, inform your attorney immediately to arrange an independent evaluation with a Certified Fellowship Trained Specialist.

Post-IME Process

After the IME, attorneys will exchange reports and send a settlement demand based on the disability estimates in the report. If the insurance company doesn’t respond, the attorney may request a value conference where a judge will recommend settlement values. These values are based on statutory rates and the year you were injured.

Get Legal Assistance from Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law

Navigating the complexities of a workers’ compensation case can be challenging. If you have suffered a workplace injury or illness, the experienced team of workers comp lawyers at Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, is here to help. We provide comprehensive support to workers across New Jersey.

For a FREE and confidential consultation, call us today or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

Posted by: Brandon J. Bro…
Date: Tue, 07/02/2024 - 17:34

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