Injured workers do not have to accept the findings of Independent Medical Examiners (IME’s) who deliver a determination that is contradictory to that of the treating physician in a workers’ compensation case. When an IME disagrees with the treating physician’s findings, Nevada work comp lawyers may suggest obtaining a responsive IME under NRS 616C.145 which may result in obtaining solid evidence to counter the dissenting viewpoint.
IME’s Hired by Insurance Companies and Employers
IME’s can be hired to examine patients by employers and their insurance providers under existing law (NRS 616C.140) in an attempt to undermine the Claimant. Often this insurance/employer hired IME doctor is retained to determine whether or not an individual’s injuries are work-related. The examinations they perform can be as short as a few minutes. Yet in that time, IME’s seemingly have the ability to determine that an individual’s injuries were pre-existing, caused by factors outside of work, or are less severe than claimed.
Ultimately, when hired by the insurance company or employer that IME’s job is to protect the employer from rising workers’ compensation insurance premiums. IME findings regularly contradict the findings of the individual’s treating physician. This is why in Nevada, Claimant’s now have their own right to obtain an IME of their choice once per calendar year, or in response to an insurance company hired IME.
Seeking a Responsive IME by the Claimant
Injured workers can seek a responsive IME if they are unsatisfied with the findings of their treating physician or the opinion of the IME. In the past, Nevada workers who wanted a second opinion from an independent medical examiner were forced to pay out of pocket. But in 2017, however, the state enacted legislation that enabled workers to choose a physician from the state’s panel of approved doctors, not the insurer’s list, and the insurer must now pay for the exam.