Do I Have to Consent to an Independent Medical Examination?
Over the course of a workers’ compensation legal case, there may be a time where the defense, the employer and its insurance company, will request an independent medical examination (IME). This means that the injured employee would have to go to a “third party” doctor and receiving an additional sign-off on medical diagnoses and prescribed treatment. The issue that often comes with these is that the doctor in question is usually a regular for a defense team and therefore not truly neutral.
The logical question that presents itself therefore is if the plaintiff in the case must agree to an independent medical examination. Technically speaking, one can refuse to consent to an IME, however this may delay the legal process or risk a loss in the case. The best way to handle such a scenario would therefore be to record everything ahead of time, document it as thoroughly as possible, and then agree to the IME. Even if the doctor’s findings are different, you still then have a basis to fall back on. Bringing a witness with you to the examination is also an excellent idea.
In some cases, the employer may request for consent to speak to the doctor. The plaintiff is not obligated to agree to this, nor should he or she. If it will move the case along, it may be a good idea to agree, but it always recommended to screen the questions first and deny certain ones that are open ended or intended to sway the case in their favor.
Ultimately, you as the plaintiff in a workers’ compensation case should not consent to anything without first consulting your attorney. Your lawyer will have your best interests at heart and therefore won’t advise you do to anything that may jeopardize the case. We at the Franco Law Firm would be happy to serve in this role for any case you may be pursuing. To learn more, please call us at (813) 872-0929.