Independent Medical Exams – IME Tutorial
This is a series of articles on independent medical exams, a crucial concept to master for anyone on workers’ compensation payments.
First, what is an independent medical exam, or IME? Years ago, these exams were called what they were, carrier’s consultant’s exams or defendant’s medical exams. In 2001, the New York legislature enacted laws still very much alive that mandated the use of the term IME. While injured workers can utilize these exams theoretically, the cost is too high and the vast majority of IME’s are done on behalf of the carrier as a strategy to pay injured workers less money.
For example, the term “independent exam” conveys a sense that these exams are fair and even-handed. Nothing could be further from the truth. While occasionally these exams and some of the doctors who perform them are fair, the majority of these exams are paid for by the insurance companies for one reason and that reason is to provide a favorable medical opinion to the carrier to lower or eliminate your payments.
For example, let’s say your doctor indicates that you cannot return to work. On a salary of $900 per week a total disability under New York Workers’ Compensation would be $600 per week. But, if the carrier pays a doctor $600, for example, and the doctor (an IME) says your rate should be $300 per week, the insurance company recoups its payment to the doctor in two weeks and makes $300 per week profit for every week going forward. Multiply this profit by the number of cases the insurance company has and you get the idea why an insurance company wants to send you to a doctor likely to provide them with a favorable opinion. And if the doctor earns $600 for a quick exam, the doctor wants to make sure the insurance company is happy with the reports.
Contact an Experienced Workers Comp Lawyer in New York
Schedule a free consultation with New York workers comp attorney Robert A. Koenigsberg at (212) 964-9292 or fill out an online contact form. Robert Koenigsberg has been practicing workers comp law for over 20 years and will fight hard for your rights.
That is the definition of an Independent Medical Exam. Part 1