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When you are injured on the job in Illinois, you generally speaking have the right to choose your own doctor. And the insurance company has to pay for 100% of that care.

The work comp insurance company for your employer has a right to send you to a doctor of their own choosing called an independent medical examination or IME. This is not a doctor who is there to treat you or look out for your best interests. Their job is to review your medical records and examine you to answer questions the insurance company has. These questions include do you have a work related injury, what treatment is needed, can you return to work and more.

Many of these IME doctors are hired guns who will say whatever the insurance company wants and hurt your case. Some of them are honest even if they skew their opinions in favor of the insurance companies.

When the IME doctor writes a report that says you can return to work or your injuries aren’t work related, you can bet that the insurance company will tell you about it right away. They are looking for any reason possible to cut you off. So when they have news that helps them, they will go forward with it.

But many times an IME happens and you don’t hear anything. Not hearing within a week or two can be normal. Over a month isn’t. So where is the IME report?

There is no law that requires the insurance company to give you or your lawyer a copy of the IME. We’ve seen many cases where they simply don’t do that. In that case we can subpoena the doctor directly to try to get a copy of the report. That is usually but not always successful.

In other cases, the doctor simply won’t write a report. What they will do is call the insurance adjuster or defense attorney and tell them what they would say. They’ll then ask if they should write a report or not. If it’s bad news, the insurance company will say don’t do it. Does that sound sleazy? Hell yes, but it’s totally legal.

So what do you do if you can’t get a report?

A smart attorney will push forward. When an IME happens and isn’t produced, it’s assumed in court that the findings would be in your favor. So while you might not have the evidence in hand, it actually will work for you.

Realistically though, once your lawyer pushes forward, most insurance companies will roll over because they know that they don’t have a defense.

The bottom line is that you shouldn’t wait forever. If it’s been two weeks and there’s no report, it’s time to get aggressive. If you’d like our help in any way, please let us know.