Those hurt because of work undoubtedly appreciate their workers' compensation insurance benefits. At some point, though, a claim that was previously trouble-free might turn troublesome. Find out what to expect when your workers' compensation insurer wants you to undergo a certain type of medical exam — the independent medical examination (IME).
The Timing Matters
Some workers are afflicted with severe and catastrophic injuries resulting in a permanent disability. In most cases, this type of situation will prompt an immediate request for an IME so that the extent of the injury may be determined. Many times, however, the workers' comp insurer will wait and see if a claimant can return to work. At some point, workers who are still not cleared by their doctor to return to work will be contacted and informed of the upcoming exam.
How to Be Ready for Your IME
- Be ready to fill the doctor in on what happened at work, your medical treatments so far, and how the injury is still affecting you. The doctor is working under contract for the workers' comp insurance company, and they will be providing the results of the exam to them. That should prompt you to be friendly and polite but not overly talkative. There is no confidentiality with this relationship. No treatment will be provided, nor will any medications be prescribed at the IME.
- Be as factual as possible about your medical situation. Use medical terms when possible and don't exaggerate your pain level. On the other hand, being hurt while working and the resulting misery can be difficult for almost anyone. Be sure you don't hesitate to explain the ways the work accident has impacted you and your family.
- Know that you can take a friend or family member with you to the exam. Let them hold on to your notes and records and help you when asked a question and need to look up the answer. They can also take notes when about the exam and what the doctor says.
- This exam is to determine whether you can continue to be paid to recuperate or whether you should return to work. What you say to the doctor matters a lot. In some cases, you have an injury that is not expected to heal. That is known as maximum medical improvement (MMI).
You have a right to another exam if you are satisfied with the results. For problems with any aspect of your claim, speak to a workers' comp doctor. They can help you cope with any adversary decisions and get the compensation to which you are entitled.
For more information, contact work-related injury attorneys near you.