What Is An Independent Medical Exam?

An independent medical exam (IME) is performed by a Level II accredited physician who has received special training through the Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation. Level II doctors evaluate permanent impairments under Colorado's workers' compensation law, and their evaluation is a major contributing factor in determining the amount of workers' compensation benefits that you are eligible to receive and for how long.

Three Reasons You Might Want To Request An IME

  1. If you disagree with a doctor's impairment rating
  2. If you disagree with the Final Admission of Liability sent by the insurance company
    • You must file an Objection to Final Admission form and propose the name(s) of a Level II accredited doctor within 30 days of receiving the final admission statement.
  3. If you disagree with the doctor's date of maximum medical improvement (MMI — meaning that your condition has become stable and cannot be improved further)
    • This is more commonly a reason for the workers' compensation insurance company to request an IME in an effort to refute your treating doctor's evaluation.

Protecting Your Rights And Your Benefits

At the Law Offices of Cliff Enten, we maintain a detailed list of all Level II accredited doctors in Colorado. Our experienced attorneys can help you make educated decisions about who you should select for an independent medical examiner if you make the request for an IME. We can help you narrow the list of choices offered by the insurance company if the initially proposed doctor is not agreeable.

We have decades of experience in this complicated process that includes numerous necessary forms, complex procedures and four possible types of IMEs. If you have been injured in a workplace accident and an IME is necessary, it is important to go through the process with experienced legal guidance. An unfavorable finding will jeopardize your benefits and play right into the hands of the insurance company that is working to justify the denial of medical treatment, lower your impairment rating or minimize your payments in some other way.

Four Different Types Of Independent Medical Exams

  1. Division IME (DIME): Insurance company provides list of three doctors to be the independent medical examiner. We help you review business, financial, employment and advisory relationships of all doctors and strike the one that is least likely to be favorable in your case. The insurance company then strikes one doctor, and the remaining doctor will conduct the IME. The DIME doctor's evaluation usually overshadows your treating doctor's opinion.
  2. Respondent's IME: Initially requested by the insurance company, this will be conducted by a doctor of the insurer's choice. Your doctor can attend and record the examination, and a second opinion may be requested.
  3. Seed Report IME: The initial IME requested by you, often countered by a DIME request from the insurance company.
  4. Second Opinion IME: Available when neither party can agree on an independent medical examiner, so an independent doctor is mutually agreed upon to perform the IME.

In all situations, the counsel and representation of a knowledgeable and resourceful workers' compensation lawyer is essential to your best possible outcome. The process is full of pitfalls and hazards that can reduce your benefits and delay payments. Do not agree to anything with an insurance company without consulting with us first. Get legal answers first.

Call The Law Offices Of Cliff Enten Now

Schedule a free initial consultation by email or by calling us in Denver, Colorado Springs or Fort Collins at 303-952-0703. We handle all cases on contingency. You pay no upfront attorney fees, and we do not get paid until you get paid.

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