When illness, injury, or disability causes a long-term absence from work, a doctor’s note may not suffice. Rather, an employer may request that you undergo an independent medical evaluation (IME) to confirm your medical condition. Employers use the resulting medical certificate to determine an employee’s limitations, and to make reasonable accommodations. Furthermore, if a medical condition prevents an employee from returning to work, an employer can use the information to help access disability benefits. No matter the reason or results, an IME request from an employer involves serious privacy issues. If you were asked to undergo an independent medical evaluation by your employer, contact the law office of William W. Hurst immediately, and before agreeing to an IME.
Associated Risks of Undergoing an IME
It is important to understand that as an employee, it is your right to refuse an IME request. Deciding whether to participate depends upon the nature of the illness, injury, or disability; how it was acquired; and why the employer is requesting the evaluation. The IME’s purpose is also one of its greatest risks—to have an evaluation by an independent doctor. The risks associated with undergoing an evaluation by a doctor who is not already associated with your care include:
- Not knowing your medical history—an independent doctor who isn’t familiar with your medical history may overlook important, contributing factors that affect your health and recovery.
- Not specialized in particular field—if an independent doctor has no orthopedic experience, yet is evaluating you regarding an orthopedic injury, the report may be invalid.
It is imperative that you understand your rights when it comes to sharing your medical information. Keep the following tips in mind if you have been asked to undergo an IME:
- You are under no obligation to consent to the release of medical information to your employer.
- It is your right to alter any consent form to protect your privacy and to preview questions.
- Your employer may not share your medical information without your expressed, specific consent.
When dealing with an illness, injury, or newly acquired disability, you may feel stressed and confused by an employer’s request that you undergo an IME. Reaching out to an experienced IME lawyer is an important first step in protecting yourself from injustice.
The Law Office of William W. Hurst
If you’ve been asked by an employer to undergo an IME, you should contact the Law Office of William W. Hurst immediately. It is your right to protect medical information regarding your test results and diagnosis. A medical report from an independent doctor that misrepresents your condition or ability to work can have devastating results. An employer may choose to reassign you or deny you benefits, depending upon the results of the IME report.
Don’t put your financial future in the hands of an independent doctor without first speaking to an experienced IME attorney. The Law Office of William W. Hurst’s experienced professionals understand the complexity of IME requests by employers. Contact us today at (317) 636-0808, or online, to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. Protecting your medical information and your job is your right. If these rights are threatened by an aggressive employer, we can help. We proudly serve clients in Indianapolis and throughout the surrounding area.