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FAQs About the IME in Virginia Workers’ Comp Claims

Filing the necessary paperwork is just the beginning of the process when you are filing a claim for workers’ compensation in Virginia. Even when you have provided what you believe is sufficient information to gain approval, the workers’ comp insurance company may ask for a second opinion from a physician that did not already provide treatment. You may get a notification that you are required to attend an Independent Medical Exam (IME) with a doctor hired by the insurer. It is not a denial, but it could make you wonder about how to respond to the request.

If you were notified that you need to partake in an IME, you should speak to a Virginia workers’ compensation attorney who can protect your rights. A few answers to common questions may also be helpful.

Am I required to participate in the IME?

Put simply, yes, you do need to attend the IME if requested. Under regulations established by the Virginia’s Workers’ Compensation Commission, you must allow a physician from your employer’s insurance company to conduct a physical examination.

What happens during the IME?

The session is not a doctor’s visit in the sense that you will receive treatment, and it does not create a physician-patient relationship. The physician retained by the workers’ comp insurance company will conduct a basic exam after reviewing the medical records you provided from your primary care physician and other treating health care providers. At the end, the IME doctor will prepare a written report about your medical condition and findings about your ability to work. 

How should I respond to questions by the physician conducting the IME?

As part of the exam, the doctor will ask questions about your medical condition. You should only provide answers to specific questions, without providing any extra details. Simply describe how you were hurt, staying true to the facts.

What if I have a previous injury or pre-existing medical condition?

It is common for insurers to contest your claim on the grounds that your injuries were the result of some other accident in the past. You cannot hide your previous medical history, so you need to be honest in your reply. However, workplace accidents may exacerbate pre-existing conditions. You will need to describe how the most recent incident made a prior injury worse or led to decreases in your capabilities.

Am I required to submit to additional diagnostic tests?

While you must attend the IME, you are NOT obligated to allow extra diagnostic screenings or tests through the process. You should decline the suggestion and refer the matter to your workers’ comp lawyer.

Get in Touch with a Virginia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today

Though this information may be useful, it should also convince you that it is important to retain experienced legal counsel to assist if you need to go through an IME. For additional answers to your questions regarding workers’ comp claims, please call Hampton Injury Law PLC to set up a no-cost case evaluation. A Virginia workers’ compensation attorney can review your case and explain how the claims process works.

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