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Independent medical exams and your injured employee

Do you know how an Independent Medical Exam (IME) can affect your employee’s workers’ compensation claim? If you are a self-insured small-business owner, you have a right to request that an injured employee is examined by a board-certified doctor of your choosing for a second opinion. 

Why would you want your employee to undergo an IME?

Under New York law, you may request an IME for any workers’ compensation claim. If your employee has received a recommendation for a treatment that seems excessive or unnecessary, a second opinion can be useful as a legal means to challenge the cost of the treatment.

The independent doctor serves to help manage your claim. You will pay their fee and afterwards settle with your client. In some cases, your client will not be able to undergo any major surgery or treatment, until you reach a settlement. This delay could cause your employee further pain and their frustration or suffering could complicate the case.

How does an IME work?

You must request and handle an IME in a specific way for it to be legally valid. The following conditions must be met:

  • The employee must submit to an IME at your request.
  • The medical practitioner you select must be board-certified.
  • You must pay the IME practitioner.
  • Their personal practitioner may be present, at their expense.
  • The appointment must be scheduled within three weeks after the injury.
  • The office must be a reasonable distance away and take place during regular business hours.

Every case is different. Your questions can be evaluated by a local legal professional for the most accurate advice related to your situation.

Just as your employees trust you to protect them, it is important to protect yourself and your business if an employee is injured. If you request a second opinion, you exercise your rights as an employer and help to even the playing field in a workers’ compensation case.

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