After filing for
workers’ compensation benefits, you will likely have to be examined by a physician chosen by
your employer’s insurance company. This is referred to as an independent
medical examination (IME) and its results can substantially impact your
case. The purpose of an IME is to procure the expert opinion of a physician
regarding any disputes involved in your workers’ compensation case.
As such, it is important to know what to expect and how to prepare for it.
What Should I Do Before the Exam?
Oftentimes, a claims adjuster will write a letter to the IME doctor. This
letter will describe your injuries or illness, in addition to any treatments
you might have already received. It will also discuss the issues the insurance
company wishes the IME doctor to address regarding any disputes related
to your condition. Be sure to ask, in writing, to review this letter ahead
of time, so you are able to correct any factual errors and to ensure the
questions are appropriate.
The IME doctor will likely have access to all of your relevant medical
records, including those related to previous injuries or other workplace
illnesses. Therefore, you need to be familiar with your own medical history.
Never attempt to conceal a previous injury since this will only hurt your claim.
During your examination, the doctor will inquire as to how the injury occurred.
The workers’ compensation system is one that is not based on fault,
so the purpose of this question is to determine if the incident that caused
your injury was truly related to your occupation. This line of questioning
is also meant to find any inconsistencies in your story, so make sure
to answer succinctly and consistently. Changes in your story will make
it seem as though you are lying, which will obviously do great harm to
Before you attend your examination, dress appropriately. If you injured
your ankle, showing up in high heels is clearly a terrible idea. If your
injury calls for the use of certain devices, such as crutches or a sling,
wear them. This is not the time to downplay your injury and pretend that
everything is fine.
Lastly, bring either a trusted friend or family member with you to your
exam. They should not say anything while you are being examined, but they
could take some notes and act as a witness.
How to Handle the Exam
Even though the insurance company hired the IME doctor, that does not mean
you have a reason to be impolite to him or her. In fact, being hostile
during your exam will only harm your claim, so just try to be respectful
and polite, even if the doctor is not particularly friendly. It is also
important never to exaggerate your symptoms. The IME doctor likely has
extensive experience in examining injured workers and is able to accurately
determine if they are being truthful regarding their symptoms and limitations.
If you have previous injuries on the same body part that is currently afflicted,
mention it and explain how it is different. If it healed years ago and
you no longer experience any symptoms, say exactly that. Withholding information
at this point will not do you any favors.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Cobb County
If you were injured while performing your job duties, you could be eligible
for workers’ compensation benefits. At Chestnut & Beller, our
Cobb County legal team is dedicated to protecting the rights of injured
workers and ensuring they receive the benefits they deserve and need to
get back on their feet. Backed by over 60 years of combined legal experience,
you can count on us to effectively represent you.
Get started on your case today and call Chestnut & Beller at
(770) 285-5542 to schedule your free initial case evaluation.