In Virginia, the Virginia Workers' Compensation Act allows a defense medical examination of the injured worker. By case law the defense insurance company can ask the injured worker to undergo this type of exam once a year. In addition, the defense insurance company can ask for multiple exams as long as the doctors have different specialties.
The Virginia statute that allows this type of exam calls the examiner an "independent" medical examiner. However, there is nothing "independent" about this examiner. He or she is carefully chosen by the insurance company so that an opinion negative to the claimant will be forthcoming. The insurer can provide the medical examiner the claiamant's entire medical history so the report will appear to be very comprehensive.
Typically, the emphasis will be on objective tests such as X-rays and MRI's and all subjective complaints will be discounted.
In summary, if your claimant is subjected to an "independent" medical examination (IME)be aware that in most cases there will be a result very adverse to the claimant. The only protection the claimant has in most cases is the "treating physician" rule. This basically means usually if things are equal the treating physician will trump the IME.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact Jerry Lutkenhaus at (804) 358-4766 or (800) 256-8862 or review Virginia Workers' Compensation Lawyer .