Independent Medical Examination Rights in Georgia
Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) are psychiatrist examinations that help settle insurance and legal disputes. During these appointments, a psychiatrist who the patient has never seen before examines the patient in order to answer medical questions about the case.
IME patients see medical professionals who specialize in the type of medicine relevant to the injury or illness in question. For example, if the case involves a broken arm, the patient typically sees an orthopedic psychiatrist. At LifeStance Health, our Georgia psychiatrists offer IME services to answer questions about a patient’s neurology, psychiatry, and psychology.
If an insurance company, employer, lawyer, or court requests an IME for you, it can be intimidating. It’s important to understand how the process works and what rights you have. This can help you feel more at ease.
When an Insurance Company or Employer Requests an IME
When someone is injured at work, either the employer or the employer’s insurance company may be liable for compensation. This compensation may include continued pay and/or a settlement through a civil lawsuit. In both cases, the liable party is entitled to request an appropriate IME.
Insurance companies may also request an IME if they represent someone you are filing a civil lawsuit against. For example, if you sue someone for damages after a car accident, the insurance company may want proof that you have suffered from neurological or psychological problems as a result of the accident.
In Georgia, an insurance company or employer may request an IME for anyone claiming damages to their body or mind. However, the organization that requests the IME must provide a list of acceptable psychiatrist from which the patient can choose.
Can Inured People Choose an IME Psychiatrist in Georgia?
If an employer or insurance company has requested an IME for you, you can choose from the providers on the list. You should not choose anyone whom you have been a patient with before, as doing so would invalidate the IME.
If you see one of the psychiatrists and do not like them, you can request a different psychiatrist. However, the second provider must still be from the provided list. You must make this request with 120 days of the last time you received a benefit. You can only request a new IME once per case.
IME Rights for Criminal Cases
Sometimes, an IME can help courts and juries understand criminal cases better. In these situations, an independent medical provider sees the defendant and learns more about their psychology. The provider then acts as an expert witness during the trial.
Attorneys and their clients can choose IME psychologists for this purpose. Often, attorneys have lists of trusted professionals on whom they can call. Sometimes, the judge orders an IME and gives the defense a list of acceptable providers.
Always Consult an Attorney
Whether you need an IME for a worker’s compensation claim, injury lawsuit, or criminal case, it’s important to consult an attorney first. Choose a lawyer who specializes in the same types of cases as yours. For example, some attorneys specialize in helping people with worker’s compensation benefits.
How Psychiatrists Must Treat IME Patients
Regardless of the reason that you make an IME appointment, you deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Patients should be heard and given privacy like any other patient.
If you need an IME, be sure to see if any of our providers are on your approved list. LifeStance Health treats all patients with the care they deserve. Search our directory to find a Georgia psychiatrist near you and book an appointment online.