When you apply for workers' compensation in Minnesota, you may have a lot of questions about the process. One part many applicants want to know more about is the independent medical examination.
Most Minnesota applicants will receive a notice instructing them to attend an IME. It is important for you to discuss this with your own attorney in the context of your specific situation.
Why the IME is not like a regular medical appointment
The IME is completely separate from the regular appointments you go to in the course of your treatment for your injury. The idea behind the IME is to get an impartial evaluation of your medical condition, including an assessment of the extent of any disability and a prediction of how it will continue to affect your ability to work. This means the doctor performing the IME is not there to help you get better. He or she is also not "on your side" to help you get the benefits you need, the way your own physician might be.
The IME is mandatory
Minnesota law requires you to attend an IME once you receive a notice for it. Let your attorney know at once about any potential issues that would make it unduly difficult for you to come. Often, your lawyer may be able to negotiate matters such as dates and locations to make it easier for you to attend.
What happens during the IME
Prior to the IME, the independent physician will review your medical records. During the appointment, he or she will conduct a physical examination and ask you questions. Some of the examination or questions may not relate directly to your injury; these can aim at finding out whether you have other health issues that do not stem from the injury but could be causing or aggravating your symptoms.
What you can do before your IME
You can prepare for the IME by reviewing your treatment records, your account of how the injury happened and your list of how the injury affects your life. It is normal for people to forget or misremember details or to mix up timelines. In this context, however, if you say things during the IME that do not match up with written records, the insurer can decide you are not telling the truth and deny your benefits.