You have a right to an independent medical examination (IME). You may request an IME if you feel you were returned to work too soon and/or if you feel you would benefit from additional medical treatment.
To make this request, you will need to mark the Report of Claim Status/Request for Independent Medical Examination (Form 38911) accordingly. This form will be mailed to you from the insurance carrier at the time your TTD benefits are terminated. This may coincide with the time that you are also released by the doctor at maximum medical improvement. Please note that you only have seven days from the date of receipt to return this completed form to the Workers’ Compensation Board of Indiana.
The Board will review your request, consider your medical treatment and prognosis, and then likely schedule you for an IME with a doctor they have chosen. If they schedule you for an independent medical examination, the doctor they send you to will only evaluate whether or not you need additional medical treatment and whether or not you should be working given your condition.
This doctor will not do the following:
- Prescribe you medication
- Discuss future medical needs
- Give you a permanent partial impairment rating
Below is a list of items you need to take to the independent medical examination:
- Original X-Rays, MRIs, CT Scans or any other radiology film
- Any medical records for related treatment with your personal doctor(s)
Of note, if a nurse case manager or rehabilitation nurse has been assigned to your case, he or she is not permitted to attend the independent medical examination scheduled by the Board.
The outcome of this evaluation will carry a lot of weight in the direction of your case. In other words, if the IME doctor decides that you can return to work and you need no further treatment, it will be difficult for you to prove otherwise since this is a doctor that was personally selected by the Board. Likewise, if the IME doctor indicates you need more treatment and/or that you should remain off work, the Board will likely stand behind their doctor and order that your workers’ compensation benefits will be reinstated.
Q: Who pays for the Board ordered medical evaluation?
A: Your employer or their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Q: I have not received a form that lets me get an independent medical examination, but I have been released from the workers’ compensation doctor. What do I do?
A: You can contact the workers’ compensation insurance carrier and ask about it. If you find out that you are not eligible for an independent medical examination through the Board, then you can seek one of your own at your own expense and try to use your doctor’s report as leverage to get your benefits reinstated. Obviously this would only happen if the doctor’s report is favorable to you. If you do seek an IME, make sure you select a doctor with an excellent reputation or the Board may discount your doctor’s opinion.