If you are injured at work and are involved in a workers’ compensation case, you will find at some point you have to have a workers’ comp physician evaluation, also known as an Independent Medical Exam (IME). Most doctors who conduct IMEs, which are paid for by the insurance company, have stopped practicing on their own outside of that work since it can be so lucrative. Since the workers’ compensation insurance company pays the doctor who performs the IME, they have an incentive to please the insurance company that pays them. They are not necessarily looking out for your best interest.
What should you not say when getting an IME?
When getting your IME, it is vital to understand the kinds of things you should not say to the doctor. The first and most important rule is always to tell the doctor the truth. IME doctors and insurance companies are skilled at identifying inconsistencies in things you say and the symptoms you describe and will use those inconsistencies to challenge the credibility of your case. Therefore, it is critical to tell the whole truth, pay close attention to the details and ensure you are always consistent with your descriptions regarding your symptoms, pre-existing injuries or conditions, or any developments that occur.
While you will have to go through an IME, the insurance company does not necessarily have the final word when evaluating your workers’ comp claim. Working with doctors familiar with the process and, if necessary, a skilled workers’ compensation attorney who can help you through the claim process from filing to getting any benefits you are entitled to is important.
Below are a few tips that can also help when you get your IME.
- Be prepared – Before your IME, go over the details about the accident, and if it helps, write down the details to help you remember and stay consistent with your responses. You may be asked about previous injuries, so again, if it helps, write them all down so you do not forget anything.
- Get there early – By arriving at your appointment early, you make an excellent first impression and allow yourself time to fill out any forms required without rushing and potentially forgetting something.
- Don’t take questions personally – Part of the IME doctor‘s job is to ask you questions to assess your situation. Try not to take these questions personally or get defensive, which may lead them to believe you are not truthful.
The process of getting an IME can be stressful so being prepared is vital. As we mentioned, always be honest, answer any questions asked of you, and be consistent with your answers. In doing so, you improve your chances of getting the result you and your doctor are looking for. If you have any questions for your doctor before you meet with the IME doctor, ask them, and take any notes you feel will help. The doctors at Park Avenue Trauma are experienced with workers’ compensation cases and can help you be prepared and comfortable when the time comes for your IME.
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