After you file a workers comp claim in Ohio, the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) may request an independent medical examination (IME) to clarify your condition. The BWC may require this kind of examination during your initial application or if you apply for additional benefits later. If your work injury affects your health long-term, then you will also have to attend periodic evaluations to continue receiving workers comp payments. An IME is conducted by someone other than your regular doctor, who is supposed to provide an objective report of your condition. However, in many cases, the physician may try to downplay your injury and/or symptoms to get repeat business from the BWC. A Columbus workers compensation lawyer from Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC can help you prepare for your independent medical examination, as well as contest doctors’ reports, if necessary. We have been helping Ohioans get the workers comp benefits they deserve since 1929. We understand the complexities of the laws surrounding these kinds of claims, and we can fully explain the process you face. Even if you have already started your workers comp claim and are worried about an IME, we can help.
The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation does not request an independent medical examination for every injury claim. Usually, a medical report from your treating physician, who must have BWC certification, is enough for your initial application. However, if you have a prolonged recovery or your condition worsens enough that you must apply for additional workers comp benefits, it is more likely that an IME will be required.
Additionally, if you receive workers comp payments for an extended period, you must attend a mandatory medical exam after 90 days and again after 200 weeks. The medical reports from these exams will determine whether you can continue to receive workers comp.
Most independent medical examinations consist of an interview and then a physical exam. The physician will first ask you a series of questions about the circumstances that caused your work injury, as well as your current condition and limitations. Then, the doctor will perform a general check-up and injury-specific tests. For example, if you injured your shoulder, the examination will likely be tests of that shoulder’s movement and flexibility. Often, the doctor will also question you about your level of pain during the physical examination.
While the IME seems straightforward, it may seriously impact your workers compensation claim. Therefore, to ensure the process goes smoothly, follow these independent medical examination tips:
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