Workers’ Compensation Medical Assessment: What to Expect

By Law Office of Justin S. Eppler, LLC

If you have been injured on the job in Alaska, you may be eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. As part of the process of filing a workers’ compensation claim and seeking coverage for your medical needs, you may be asked to submit to an independent medical examination (IME). 

Reach out to a knowledgeable attorney if you have been injured at work and your employer has requested an independent medical exam. With an attorney’s guidance, you’ll have a much better chance at getting fair compensation for any losses suffered due to workplace injuries or illnesses. Contact our workers’ compensation attorney at Law Office of Justin S. Eppler, LLC, for assistance with your claim. With an office in Anchorage, Alaska, our team represents injured and ill workers throughout the state of Alaska, including Juneau, Palmer, Wasilla, and Fairbanks.  

What Is an Independent Medical Exam?  

An independent medical exam (IME) is usually required when filing for workers’ compensation in Alaska and other states with similar laws regarding workers’ comp claims. 

An IME is designed to provide a neutral third-party assessment of an injured worker’s condition. The purpose of this assessment is to determine if there is any evidence that contradicts or conflicts with the treating physician’s diagnosis or proposed treatment plan.  

This assessment can also be used to decide if an injured worker should receive additional testing or treatment for their condition. This type of exam is conducted by a physician who has been approved by the State of Alaska’s Workers’ Compensation Board. 

Do I Get to Choose the Doctor I See?  

In Alaska, an IME must be performed by a physician who has been approved by the State’s Workers’ Compensation Board. The list of eligible physicians can be found on the Board’s website, but employers are not allowed to pick which doctor will perform the exam. Instead, they must choose randomly from this list. The employer must pay for all expenses related to the IME, including travel costs and other fees associated with obtaining an expert opinion on a worker’s condition.  

Generally, workers are not allowed to choose the doctor who would perform an independent medical exam, which is why the exam is called “independent.” However, Alaska law does allow employees to choose a doctor who would treat their work-related injury.  

What Should I Expect During the Assessment?  

An IME provides valuable information about a person’s injury and helps ensure that they receive fair coverage under workers’ compensation insurance policies.  

During an IME, a physician will review your medical records and current symptoms and then conduct their own physical examination using standard tests such as X-rays or MRI scans. The doctor may also request additional tests depending on your injury and symptoms. Once these tests are completed, the doctor will issue their opinion about your condition and make recommendations about further treatment or restrictions from work activities based on their findings.   

What If I Disagree With the Doctor’s Report?  

Typically, the doctor’s IME report contains opinions about the cause of injury and the effects it has had on your ability to work and perform certain tasks. In some cases, the IME report can also contain subjective opinions about your credibility or motivation for seeking benefits, which can be damaging to your case.   

If you disagree with an opinion expressed in an IME report, there are several ways you can challenge it. For starters, it’s important to remember that the doctor’s opinion is just that—an opinion—and does not necessarily reflect reality. Therefore, if you think that the doctor’s assessment of your disability is incorrect or incomplete, it may be possible for you to dispute their findings and present evidence that supports your point of view. 

It’s critical to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side when challenging an IME report in Alaska. A skilled attorney will know how to effectively challenge the doctor’s findings and present evidence that supports your side of the story. They can also help ensure that all relevant evidence is taken into consideration when making decisions about awarding benefits and will make sure that any errors made during the process are corrected before they become major problems down the line.   

Speak With an Experienced Attorney  

If you are preparing for an independent medical exam in your workers’ compensation case, contact Law Office of Justin S. Eppler, LLC. Our experienced attorney knows how to effectively challenge any inaccurate or incomplete assessments made by a doctor during an IME and will ensure that all relevant evidence is taken into consideration. Schedule a free consultation with our attorney to discuss your unique situation.