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Workers’ compensation and independent medical examinations

When a Denver worker is injured on the job, there will be an expectation that workers’ compensation benefits will be available to cover their lost wages as they recover, pay for medical care and help them make ends meet, until they can return to work. In some instances, the worker might not even be able to return to work. Regardless, there are certain factors that might be important in a claim.

One is if there is an Independent Medical Examination (IME) or a Respondent Independent Medical Examination (RIME) required. Understanding the details of these examinations is a foundational aspect to a case. A claimant can be asked to take part in an examination with a doctor who has not had any prior interactions with him or her. This physician will not give treatment and will be paid by whomever requested the exam. This is generally used to garner an opinion about test results in written form or to respond to questions by an attorney or a judge.

With RIME, the insurer or the employer — referred to as the respondent — will designate a doctor or other provider of medical services to conduct the IME. According to the law, this exam can be asked for at any point during the workers’ compensation claims process. The respondent is responsible for paying the doctor. This exam will be recorded with the office retaining a copy of it. There will be no video recording. It is an audio tape. Following this exam, the doctor will issue a report with its results. A copy will be provided to both the claimant and the respondent.

When a worker has been injured and is seeking workers’ compensation benefits, many cases are not a simple matter of filing and being approved. There can be disagreements throughout the process and IME or RIME might be needed to come to a determination. For people who are applying for workers’ compensation or are concerned about the request for medical examinations in addition to those they have already had, a law firm that has experience representing injured workers should be called for help.