The workplace is a common setting where catastrophic accidents happen, resulting in permanent injuries, like scarring and disfigurement. These kinds of injuries not only affect the physical and financial aspects but can also take a toll on the victim’s mental and emotional state. Furthermore, a permanent disfigurement can significantly decrease one’s quality of life forever.
Fortunately, workers’ compensation benefits can help victims recover their financial losses and damages, such as hospital bills and lost wages. On top of this, victims with permanent scarring and disfigurement can also recover non-economic damages, such as loss of enjoyment of activities, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
But before workers can claim these losses, employers or insurance carriers may need unbiased proof of their employee’s medical status and condition. This is where a plastic surgeon that conducts independent medical examination comes in.
What is an Independent Medical Examination?
An Independent Medical Examination or IME refers to a medical evaluation performed by an objective third-party doctor. The main goal of this evaluation is to provide an accurate medical report to resolve any questions and conflicts involved in a workers’ compensation claim.
Typically, doctors perform IMEs as per the request of the employer, their attorney, or the insurance carrier. If the workers’ comp claim goes to court, a judge may also order an independent medical examination to resolve medical disputes.
Here’s how it typically goes: if you were injured at work, then you’d be qualified to file a workers’ compensation claim to receive your benefits. You will then be examined by a treating doctor who will assess the following:
- Your condition and the medical treatment you require
- When you can safely return to work
- Whether or not the injury will lead to a permanent disability
After that, your employer or its insurance carrier may then request an IME to confirm the initial doctor’s medical evaluation.
What is the role of a plastic surgeon in an IME?
Work-related accidents vary in degree and severity. Some may cause acute damage, leaving permanent scarring or disfigurement that can impact a person’s quality of life. Some examples include:
- Chemical burns
- Electrical burns
- Falls from heights
- Crush injuries and deep lacerations
- Accidents that require a major surgical procedure, which can then leave a permanent and noticeable scar.
In workers’ compensation cases, disfigurements are considered as cosmetic damages, thus calling the need for a plastic surgeon during IMEs.
The third-party plastic surgeon conducting the independent medical exam will receive and assess all the initial medical evaluations done by your treating doctor. They will then review these records, examine you, and write their own assessment. Some of the specific things they will perform include:
- Checking if your work-related condition was correctly diagnosed;
- See if the current and future tests and treatments recommended by the treating doctor are accurate;
- Extent and severity of the permanent disability or disfigurement;
- Assess the amount of time it will take before you can safely go back to work. Recommend activity restrictions at work to improve healing.
Once done, the IME doctor will release their official report, which they will submit to the requesting party.
How does it affect your workers’ compensation claim?
The laws involved in workers’ compensation are under the “no-fault” laws. This means that the victim or employee can still get compensated without the need to prove fault against their employer or opposing party.
However, employers do have the right to conduct their own investigation if they suspect that the accident resulted from employee misconduct, hence requesting an IME.
In workers’ compensation disputes, the result of an independent medical examination is the key to resolving specific issues raised by your employer or their insurance carrier. So it does impact your workers’ comp claim by a mile.
Even though you’re not at fault, there are times when IME doctors may make factual medical mistakes or get blinded by financial incentives from the opposing party. So, it is really imperative to see a plastic surgeon with significant clinical experience and strong principles.
Dr. Thomas Zaydon – Expert Workers Compensation Plastic Surgeon
If you’re an accident victim needing a reconstructive surgeon or a lawyer looking for a credible, third-party examiner, then you’ve come to the right place.
Dr. Zaydon, the founder of Plastic Surgery Institute of Miami, has worked with workers’ compensation patients, lawyers, and employers for over 20 years. He had treated and performed reconstructive surgery on countless victims of workplace accidents while also helping them get back to their work safely.
His credentials and years of experience also allowed Dr. Zaydon to work with lawyers to perform independent medical examinations on workers’ compensation cases. Besides plastic surgery independent medical examination, he also specializes in other practices, such as:
Dr. Zaydon’s Areas of Expertise:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Expert Witness
- Comprehensive Medical Examinations
- Independent Medical Examinations
- Workers Compensation accidents
- Neuro injuries
- Wound healing
- Facial trauma
- Scar removal
- Burns – thermal, severe, and catastrophic
- Facial reconstruction
- Future plastic surgery treatment and expenses
Office Surgeries Performed:
Hospital Outpatient Surgery:
Injuries (including workers compensation – acute and long term)
Types of patient accepted:
Contact us now so we can start your treatment and work on your or your clients workers’ compensation claim.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.