Visitor Question

What’s an “Independent Medical Examination”?

Submitted By: Natasha (Georgia )

I was injured in a car accident at work. I’ve been out of work for 6 months and just had my first pain management treatment. I have been denied to go back for treatment for several weeks and I received a letter to report to an “independent medical examination.”

What is this? Is this going to allow me to get further treatment? Is there anything I need to do? Thank you for any information you can give.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Natasha,

An Independent Medical Examination (IME), also referred to as “Defense Medical Examination” or “Adverse Medical Examination” is a medical examination required by the employer’s insurance company in a workers’ compensation claim.

Insurance companies often believe a worker’s own physician may be somewhat biased toward the patient. As a result, the insurance companies want their own examination to “balance the scales.” The IME physician wants to make sure your injuries are real and not feigned.

The problem is, the insurance company’s physician is paid (indirectly) by the insurance company. Many of these company-approved doctors rely on the income they receive from insurance companies for seeing injured workers. As a result, the physicians may be biased in favor of the insurance company. It’s a clear conflict of interest.

If you don’t agree to submit to an IME, the insurance company may obtain a court order requiring you to be evaluated in an IME. If you refuse a court order, you may lose any benefits you may be receiving, or hope to receive in the future.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: January 26, 2015

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