In New Hampshire, all employers must have workers’ compensation insurance to protect their employees in the event of an on-the-job injury.
If you sustain a workplace injury, your employer or your employer’s insurance company may ask you to have an independent medical examination.
Why do you need an IME?
An independent medical examination may seem redundant if you are already receiving treatment from your own doctor. However, the purpose of an IME is not to help you get treatment. Rather, it is an opportunity for the insurance company to gather its own information about your injury.
Your employer or the insurance company will choose a qualified physician to conduct the examination. Although the practitioner must have proper licensure and adhere to the same ethical standards as any other doctor, the relationship is not a typical doctor-patient relationship. The doctor will report his or her findings to the insurance company to help determine the legitimacy of your claim.
What rights do you have?
In New Hampshire, you must see the doctor the insurance company has chosen for your IME. However, you have the right to have a witness present. You can also have your own doctor attend the IME at your expense.
Your employer or the insurance company must give you at least 10 days’ written notice before the examination. In most cases, the IME must take place within 50 miles of your home and you should not need to have more than two exams in one year.
If you need to have an independent medical examination as part of your workers’ compensation case, it is important to understand why the exam is necessary and what rights you have as a patient and employee.