Managing Your Time With An Orthopedist

What Should Independent Medical Evaluations Include?

When someone is hurt, it's not uncommon for several parties to have an interest in evaluating what happens. This is especially common in workers' compensation and personal injury cases, and interested parties will likely include plaintiffs, defendants, and insurance companies.

Independent medical evaluations allow these folks to get a better sense of what's going on before they deal with claims. You may wonder, though, what independent orthopedic evaluations should include. Keep reading to find out.

Basic Rundown of the Injuries

An independent doctor will meet with the claimant and conduct an examination. They will look for the injuries described by the claimant and also ones that are common in similar incidents. Everything will be charted, and the severity of each injury is noted, too. If an injury appears to be a pre-existing one, the doctor will also note that.

Some cases may be difficult enough to sort out that the evaluation might provide a referral. In these cases, the plaintiff may have to visit a specialist for further examination or even exploratory surgery.


Especially in cases where there are doubts about how well the victim of an accident might recover, it's important to think about their prognosis. Will they ever recover? If so, how long does the doctor expect the recovery to take? If not, the doctor should note what sort of long-term care might be required to sustain the individual. Also, there should be notes about the likelihood of returning to work in full or limited capacities.

Origination of the Injuries

Insurers want to know whether they're on the hook for compensation, and that issue usually hinges on where the injuries occurred. First, they don't want to pay for pre-existing injuries. Second, claimants worried about repetitive stress injuries will want independent medical evaluations to show how the damage has accumulated, usually from work.


Be aware that independent orthopedic evaluations don't form full doctor-patient relationships for legal purposes. The doctor isn't your doctor or the one for the insurer. Instead, they're an independent party who must submit an unbiased report about the facts of the case.


Ultimately, the doctor will round the evaluation into a report. This report will be sent to the parties involved with the case so they may review it. An attorney will use the report to build a case, while an insurer will use it to decide whether a claim is valid and how much to potentially pay if it is.