Typically, the insurance company gets to select all of the doctors who provide authorized medical treatment if you’ve been injured. There is one exception, which will be discussed below. There are only three types of doctors who are able to provide medical opinions in Florida workers’ compensation cases: an authorized treating physician, an independent medical evaluator and an expert medical advisor.
An authorized treating physician is easy enough to understand, but what is an independent medical evaluator (IME)? The Florida Workers’ Compensation Law provides that one time during the course of litigation, each party can select and pay for evaluation with a physician when there is a “dispute concerning overutilization, medical benefits, compensability, or disability.” Importantly, even if there are multiple different injuries involved, each party is only entitled to a single IME. This is important because an IME is unable to render opinions outside his/her area of expertise. Additionally, each party is bound by the opinions of their IME. If a case has been denied completely from the outset, you will have to obtain an IME in order to establish entitlement to any benefits. This is because if the case has been denied, there are no authorized treating physicians to provide opinions on your appropriate work status, what medical treatment, if any, is reasonable and medically necessary and whether the industrial accident is greater than 50% the cause of your condition, need for treatment, and resulting disability.