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3/30/2010 3/30/2010 06:05 PM GMT (TransWorldNews)

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As a result of the commitment and efforts of trade unions all over the world, the idea of worker’s compensation has been accepted by almost all industrial societies. Today, a variety of work-related injuries and health problems are covered under the diverse compensation plans offered by managements. The basic idea is that a worker who gets injured during the course of his or her employment can claim compensation from the employer. The nature of this compensation varies depending on workplace and work conditions. It is a type of insurance, and can take the form of a disability insurance (where weekly payments are made by the employer to the injured employee, instead of wages), life insurance (benefits are provided to the dependents of severely injured or deceased workers) or health insurance (reimbursement of medical bills and treatment costs).

Although a range of reimbursement options and benefits are made available to the employee, the number of worker’s compensation claims that reach the courts in almost all civilized nations of the world is astounding. Some of these cases are genuine pleas for justice while others are products of greed. To determine the validity of a particular claim, courts have to consider several factors. Is the reason behind the injury or health problem of the plaintiff work related? Did the injury occur during the plaintiff’s course of employment with the employer specified in the claim? If so, what is the extent of this injury? In order to find the answers to these questions, the plaintiff might be subjected to an
independent medical examination (IME).

The results of an
IME can be crucial in personal injury litigations. Based on the report of an IME doctor, the court can rule in favor of the defense. This means compensation can actually be refused to an employee with the court’s blessing. No wonder the exam is widely known as “adverse” or “defense” medical examination. On the other hand, an independent medical examination is very important in determining the extent and nature of the injury or health problem. Such details help to understand which medical treatment will work best for a particular petitioner’s health problem. In fact, what type of compensation must be given will depend largely on the report of the IME doctor. In case the patient is under more than one treatment for a work-related injury (e.g., an orthopedic surgeon and an expert in physical medicine may both treat an accident patient), separate independent medical examinations may be required. All such reports bring the defense and the plaintiff one step closer to resolving the problem.

Although widely considered as an “adverse” medical examination (at least by workers), IMEs are quite beneficial to claimants too. Sometimes, they help reinforce the worker’s claim for compensation by proving beyond doubt that the claim is valid. A post-treatment IME can bring out all the flaws of the medical treatment given and thereby help evaluate whether the patient derived maximum advantage from it. The result of such an exam can reinforce later follow-ups of the case. There are treatments within compensation plans that may cause permanent impairments in some patients. They may be administered without prior testing and so on, and may cause later problems for the individual. An independent medical examination conducted soon after the treatment can detect such issues.


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