Workers in the state of New York are subject to workers compensation laws that are among the strictest in the country. If you are ever hurt at work, you will likely speak to a doctor to determine the extent of your injury. To handle your claim, your employer may require you to see a doctor who is not your primary care physician. Instead, you could see an independent medical examination doctor for an evaluation.
What you will find out about independent medical examination (IME) doctors is that they are not as ‘independent’ as their name might imply. When an employer recommends an IME doctor, a practice legal in the state of New York, it may be in your best interest to seek a second opinion.
Here is what you should know about an independent medical examination doctor’s role in a worker’s compensation claim:
IME doctors are paid by insurance companies
Although the IME doctor does not work for your employer, it is likely that he or she is paid by the insurance company that covers your employer’s worker compensation claims. An IME doctor will not provide the same care or relationship as your primary care physician.
Your employer will cover the costs of your claim through an insurance policy. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the insurance provider to keep its costs low. This is done by making sure your claim is handled as quickly and as cheaply as possible.
IME doctors can make money from your treatment
The insurance company cutting costs on your claim could mean that you will not have access to the long-term care you need following a serious injury. It may also affect what tests you will undergo and what kind of drugs you may be prescribed. Loopholes in the law allow doctors hired through an insurance company to profit by recommending certain medical facilities, tests and prescription drugs.
When considering how an IME doctor will treat you, always follow the money. The insurance company wants cases handled quickly and cheaply, so they will favor doctors who dispose of cases in this manner.
The claims process is purposely complicated
Building legitimacy for your claim requires time that is better spent coping with your injury. Instead of providing a path to healing, an employer’s insurance company may present hurdles through complicated paperwork and strict deadlines.
A lawyer can help you complete the paperwork and extend deadlines to get the proper care you deserve.