preparing for independent medical exam (ime)

How to Prepare for Your Independent Exam for Workers’ Comp

If any disputes arise in your workers’ compensation claim, you may have to undergo an independent medical examination. This third-party examination allows your workers’ comp insurance company to get expert insight into your injuries, treatments, whether or not your injury is work-related, and when you can be expected to return to work. Since the company can choose the doctor, you may be nervous—and rightfully so.

Not sure how to protect yourself and your claim after a workplace injury? Call Thiry & Caddell at 251-478-8880 to schedule a consultation now.

Review Your Notes and the Insurance Company’s Notes

Before the examination, spend some time looking over your own medical records, notes from your doctor, and diagnostic tests. You’ll want to be familiar enough with your injury to talk about it comfortably. However, you will also want to spend some time finding out what the insurance company has to say about your injury.

If they sent a letter to the physician requesting an IME, request a copy of the letter so you can review it before your examination. If they misrepresented your injury or claim in any way, you want to have time to correct that.

Be Ready to Discuss Your Accident and Symptoms

It may have been some time since your accident, but the doctor will likely want to discuss it. Try to remember how the accident happened and take note of any important details related to your injury. In addition to how your injury occurred, the doctor may want to know how your injury has progressed and what symptoms you currently have. Be prepared to answer those questions.

Look Over Your Treatments, Both Past and Current

One part of the physician’s job is to look over the treatments you’ve tried and your current treatment plan. They may want to see if you’ve been prescribed any frivolous or unnecessary treatments or if your doctor has not suggested any obvious treatments. You should be ready to discuss your treatments and how your injury responded to them.

Be Polite and Avoid Confrontation

You may go into your IME feeling like it’s you against the physician, especially since the workers’ comp insurance provider chose them. Try to get out of that line of thinking. They simply want to figure out what the truth is and provide a report back to the insurance company. Be polite, arrive on time, and don’t be combative. Answer their questions directly and don’t dodge any questions.

Be Honest—Avoid Exaggeration in Either Direction

Honesty is crucial in these examinations. You may think you’re helping your case by trying to put on a brave face or exaggerate your injuries just a tad, but you’re really hurting your claim in the process. The doctor has likely seen lots of workers’ compensation claims in their time and lying will throw up a red flag for them. If you appear to be lying, expect them to tell the workers’ compensation company about it. The doctor will also be on the lookout for other dishonest behavior.

Know That the Doctor is Looking at Everything You Do and Say

An independent medical examination isn’t just about the answers you provide to the doctor. It’s also about what you do or don’t do. The doctor will be looking for anything that is not in line with the injuries reported to the insurance company. For example, if you claim you have a severe back injury but come in with high heels or after a long hike on the Glenn Sebastian Nature Trail, they’re going to note that.

Take Notes on What the Doctor Says

You may want to review the independent medical examination with your Mobile workers’ compensation attorney. Take quick notes on anything they tell you or any questions you weren’t expecting. If they give you any documentation of the visit, you’ll also want to keep that and give copies to your attorney.

Discuss Your Workers’ Comp Claim with Thiry & Caddell

If you’re experiencing pushback on your workers’ compensation claim or you’re the victim of retaliation, you need to talk to the workers’ compensation attorneys at Thiry & Caddell. We’re here to investigate your injuries and fight for you. Contact us online or call us at 251-478-8880 to set up a meeting now.

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