Once you have experienced a workplace injury and started the workers' compensation claims process, there are a lot of questions that you will have to answer and phone calls that you will have to make or receive. One of the most confusing yet more important parts of the process is the request of an independent medical exam. What exactly is an independent medical exam, and do you have the right to get one? What type of impact does this exam have on the success or failure of your overall case? How can workers comp attorneys in Alexandria VA help you to navigate your way through this exam successfully?
Workers Comp Attorneys in Alexandria VA Will Walk You Through the Process
First and foremost, it is imperative to remember that a worker’s compensation lawyer in Alexandria VA can walk you through each of the steps involved with the overall claims process from start to finish. This means that he or she will brief you on exactly what to expect so that anything doesn’t surprise you including the request for an independent medical examination (or IME).
The attorney will even help you to navigate through the early stages of the claims process starting with the workplace injury itself. For instance, long before you receive an IME request, you should have already followed the standard protocol for filing an initial claim. In addition to notifying your direct supervisor or manager about your injury and seeking urgent medical attention, you checked and confirmed with upper management that the workers' compensation claim was filed. As your attorney will inform you, it is typically the insurance company of your employer – not your employer directly – who will request an IME.
A Workers Comp Attorney in Alexandria Will Help You to Keep the Proper Perspective
Perspective means more than you may think when working your way through the workers' compensation claims process. For instance, when you first receive the IME request from the insurance company, you may become slightly intimidated by the experience. You may assume that you are in trouble, are at risk of losing your job or that your employer is trying to make it seem as if your injury never occurred. Your workers' comp attorney will help you to prevent yourself from jumping to these types of extreme conclusions – especially when such baseless assumptions have no concrete evidence to support them.
It is important to keep in mind that independent medical examinations are very common parts of the claims process. Maintaining a proper perspective is essential, though, because this part of the process is not optional. Regardless of how the wording of the request letter or how your employer presents it to you, the IME is a requirement that should not be taken lightly. You have the right to refuse it but doing so could cause damage to your case and lead to the immediate rejection of your claim.
In most cases, they file an IME request due to an uncertainty that the insurance company has about your claim. Perhaps they have conflicting reports or insufficient information and need to make sure that they have everything needed to either prove or disprove your case. The independent medical examination will allow them to get all the information they need to achieve that goal, which is why you need to retain a worker’s compensation attorney in Alexandria VA long before you even reach this part of the process.
A Workers Comp Attorney Will Educate You on the Value of an IME
With most IMEs, the insurance company will choose the physician that you must see to receive the examination. Most carriers will not allow you to have the exam conducted by a physician that you personally selected to ensure that they receive accurate, unbiased results. However, this also means that the physician chosen for the Independent Medical Exam will search thoroughly for any type of inconsistencies with your disability rating, symptoms and/or treatment protocol.
Without the proper guidance and insight from your attorney, this may seem like an ambush designed for you to fail and lose your case. On the contrary, your Alexandria workers compensation attorney will help you to see that the Independent Medical Exam can be used as a golden ticket to fortify and even win your case. How so? The independent medical examination will provide the insurance company with concrete evidence and supporting documentation of your legitimate injuries to further corroborate your claim. These examinations can also be used to investigate your treatment and overall disability level, though, which is why it is vital to make sure that you keep your attorney informed and up-to-date each step of the way.