There is nothing truly “independent” about the physicians and medical care providers that provide Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) for insurance companies. They are paid by the insurance company.

The Role of the Independent Medical Examination (IME) in a Worker’s Compensation Case

If you’ve been injured at work and have submitted a worker’s compensation claim, chances are at some point you will be required to  attendan independent medical examination (or “IME”).  The IMEs are typically conducted by physicians retained by the insurance companies that  maybe required to make payment under your claim.

The theory of the IME is that an independent physician will be able to provide an examination apart from the primary treating physician, and, as part of this examination, will be able to provide an unbiased view of the nature and extent of the injury.  In reality, this is not the case.

Physicians retained by insurance companies and their counsel to conduct IMEs likely will have a strong incentive to provide pro-insurance opinions, since it is the insurance companies who are paying them.  They will also have an incentive to provide pro-insurance opinions so that they will be rehired for future insurance company work.

As a result, in most cases where there is a disagreement regarding the severity of an injury, the opinion of the insurance company IME is almost always more favorable to the insurance company than is the opinion of the treating physician.

If the insurance company has scheduled you to attend an IME, you should call us to discuss your rights and responsibilities during the IME.

Wisconsin Workers‘ Compensation Center

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