When a person is injured in an on the job accident or develops an occupational illness, their employer may request that he or she undergo an independent medical evaluation, or IME, as a condition of receiving workers’ compensation benefits. An IME is an evaluation conducted by a physician or other medical professional who has not previously been involved with an individual’s care. Here are some answers to commonly asked questions regarding IMEs in New Jersey.
Does the IME Have to Take Place in a Particular Location?
While many injured workers naturally would like to have their IME as close their home as possible, there is nothing in the law that requires employers to arrange an IME in any particular part of the state. The law only requires that the IME take place in a reasonable location within New Jersey.
Can an Employee Have His or Her Attorney Present at an IME?
Many injured workers would like to have their attorney present at their IME. Under New Jersey law, an injured worker is not entitled to have his or her attorney present at an IME. Importantly, however, the injured worker may have his or her personal physician attend the IME.
How Many IMEs May an Employer Request?
There is a common misconception that an employer may only request one IME during a workers’ compensation case. In fact, there is no limitation on the number of IMEs that can be requested, only that they are requested “as often as may be reasonably required.” As a result, if an employer suspects that a worker was improved but is feigning injury to collect benefits, he or she may be able to request another independent medical evaluation.
What Happens if an Employee Misses an IME?
The law states that an employee’s refusal to participate in an independent medical evaluation will deprive the employee the right to benefits while he or she is refusing. In addition, the employee is not entitled to back benefits after the period of refusal has ended.
Call 201-498-9768 today for more information.
If you have recently been injured at work or have developed an illness or condition that you believe is related to your work environment, you should speak to an attorney immediately. A lawyer will ensure that you receive the workers’ compensation benefits to which you are entitled as quickly as possible. To schedule a free case evaluation with New Jersey workers’ comp attorney John L. Schettino, call our office today at 201-498-9768 or contact us online.