The doctor’s evaluation of your work-related injury can either help your workers’ compensation claim get accepted or be denied. It is the biggest factor determining what you’ll get in benefits.
Here’s a quick guide on what you should or shouldn’t ask, do, and say during a workers’ comp Independent Medical Examination (IME).
An IME or Independent Medical Examination must be performed by a doctor approved by your employer’s insurance company, but later, you may be able to seek treatment by another doctor choice, depending on your state laws.
The insurance company would send your medical records to the doctor ahead of time. You can ask for a copy of those records to verify their accuracy.
Keep a record of the accident
In order to ensure that you can clearly recall the accident, and how your injury occurred, and report it to the doctor, it is important to keep a written record. Your description of the accident to the doctor should match what was reported to the insurance company. Any inconsistencies or changes can become ground for your claim denial.
Also remember that workers’ compensation medical evaluations aren’t subject to HIPAA. The IME doctor has to report the details of your evaluation to the insurance company.
Your doctor would ask you about how the effects of the work-related injury are different from any “regular” symptoms related to your medical history. Be honest about how you feel. Don’t skip mentioning any symptoms you may think are minor, harmless or even embarrassing. In doing so, you only shortchange yourself.
Bring someone along
Have a family member or friend accompany you to the IME to take notes and be a witness.Your IME begins when you reach the medical facility and ends when you leave. How you move, sit down, get up, climb up or down the steps, is all watched and may be reported.
Ask what you can expect for treatment
Your IME doctor can give you an idea of the type of treatment appropriate for your injury.
Take photos of your injury
Take photos of your injury for the IME,if your injury is visible, such as redness or swelling.