An Independent Medical Examination (IME), which many claimant lawyers also refer to as a Defense Medical Examination (DME), is a medical examination paid for by the employer or insurance company, with a doctor of their choice, used in many instances to attempt to terminate, modify or suspend your wage loss benefits. It can also be utilized to try and terminate your medical benefits. Very often, the adjuster will tell unrepresented claimants that they are "setting up a second opinion" for the claimant to be examined; however, these exams are not for treatment purposes at all. In fact, the doctor will tell you that no doctor/patient relationship is being created. This is because this examination is just for his paid for "opinion" regarding your medical condition, ability to return to work, or need for ongoing treatment. If you receive a notice that you are to attend an IME, you should contact your attorney immediately; if you do not have counsel, now is the time to retain someone. The IME results can have a significant impact on your benefits, so being informed about the process and prepared for the exam is vital.
The insurance company can asked for an IME every 6 months, and very often you will attend more than one during your workers' compensation claim. If you are unable to drive to the exam, you can request that transportation be provided, and if you are able to drive there, you are entitled to be reimbursed for travel expenses.