Question: Can an independent medical evaluator's impairment ratings be rejected because he or she was not the treating physician?

Answer: Although some jurisdictions will initially seek an impairment rating from a treating physician, an independent medical evaluator would be a more suitable candidate and/or be in a better position to assess impairment. The treating physician has a different perspective and, by definition, is a patient advocate; therefore, the treating physician would be biased. The treating physician may be uncomfortable providing opinions that will negatively affect the patient and/or the physician–patient relationship. Treating physicians who focus on clinical care may be less familiar with the American Medical Association's (AMA's) Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides) and the intricacies of impairment evaluation than an independent medical physician evaluator who focuses on impairment assessment and has mastered the...

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