26th Jun 2014
Workers compensation independent medical examinations. Truth or fiction? They are not independent!
Every week injured workers are scheduled for independent medical examinations, “IME” by workers compensation insurance carriers. We always discuss with our clients the do’s and don’ts of attending an IME. You must approach an IME examination the same as if you were going to a deposition. Whatever you tell the attending physician will be taken down in their notes, and can be used against you in a contested Workers Compensation claim. Following are some suggestions that we provide our clients.
1. Don’t be intimidated by the IME;
2. Be prepared to truthfully answer the doctors questions;
3. Answer every question to the best of your ability; and
4. Consult with an attorney before your IME examination.
Don’t be intimidated by the IME.
Clients always ask, “what if I say the wrong thing,” “what if I don’t tell the doctor everything?” If you tell the IME examiner the wrong information, it can come back to haunt you, however, remember, this is not your primary treating physician, who knows your medical history. Additionally, if the injury is one which is beyond the scope of your treating physician, it may be necessary to hire a medical expert who is not “independent” but who is 100% on your side. Remember to be patient, don’t rush your answers, and be prepared to discuss your symptoms, pains, etc. by preparing for the examination ahead of time. Be courteous, honest, and remember that whatever happens, you have the right to contest the examiners findings if they are unfavorable with the assistance of your attorney and own doctors.
Answer the examiners questions honestly.
Don’t go into the examination unprepared. This isn’t the time to guess how you were injured, how often you have had to take pain medications, what treatments or physical therapy you have undergone or any other circumstances regarding your treatment. Prior to attending the examination review your medical records, discuss the facts pertaining to your injury with your attorney. Respond to all questions honestly, and if you don’t remember something, simply tell the examiner that fact. Don’t guess at what you think the answer is, or try to guess what the examiner is trying to get you to say.
Don’t expect the examiner to be concerned about treating your condition.
Remember this examiner is not concerned about your welfare, recovery, or family. Generally independent medical examinations take no more than 10-15 minutes with the actual doctor, who in reality has little interest in hearing about how your injury occurred. Don’t get discouraged, angry, or make jokes. Answer the examiners questions simply, don’t go into detail in your answers. Above all do not exaggerate or fake your symptoms, the doctor has a history with the insurance carrier of examining patients with similar injuries, and if you lie about your injuries, it will come back when you least want it to resurface and destroy your credibility.
Consult an attorney before going to and IME.
Christensen Young and Associates never charges a fee to consult with an attorney prior to an IME. A free consultation may mean a significant difference in how much money you receive on your workers compensation injury. Even if you go to an attorney who charges you for a consultation prior to your IME, the money will be well spent if you know how to properly prepare, what to say, and what not to say or do in the examination.
The examiner is NOT your friend. Contact one of our experienced attorneys at Christensen Young & Associates, today at 866-861-3333 for a free consultation.