An injured employee may be requested by his/her employer (or their insurance company) to have an independent medical evaluation (IME) done.
What is an independent medical evaluation?
Under South Carolina law, the party that pays out your workers’ compensation benefits (meaning your employer or their insurance company) can ask you to have an independent medical evaluation. If you refuse to do so, your benefits may be revoked.
Through an independent medical evaluation, a doctor will perform the exam. Your employer or the insurance company can use the information received through the examination to determine:
- If your injury was related to the workplace
- If the medical treatment you’re requesting for your injury is reasonable or even necessary
- Whether you’re unable to work (if you need to take time off to heal)
The downside to an independent medical evaluation is that the test may be biased. Your employer is paying for the evaluation so the results may sway in his/her favor.
What can you do to protect yourself if you’re asked to undergo an independent medical evaluation?
It may be frustrating to feel forced to take an exam that you don’t want to partake in. However, know that you should not refuse the IME. You should also attempt to remain polite and professional with the doctor performing the exam.
If you’re not satisfied with the results of the IME, you have the right to have an IME performed by a doctor of your choosing (just know that you’ll be paying the costs out of pocket). You have limited time to speak with another doctor.
If you’re concerned about your workers’ compensation benefits, contact a trusted Greenville South Carolina attorney to help ensure you keep the compensation you deserve.