A Turning Point In Your Workers' Comp Case: The Independent Medical Examination
If you've been injured in a work-related accident or suffering from a work-related illness, you may already be benefiting from the valuable resources available from the workers' comp insurance company. In most cases, you can expect to receive free medical care and a portion of your wages while you recuperate from your injury at home. At some point, you may be asked to participate in a special type of examination, called an Independent Medical Examination (IME). This exam carries a great deal of importance for your claim, so here is more about the exam and what it means.
Why am I being asked to undergo this exam?
Most work-related injuries are short-term in nature, and most workers are able to return to their jobs within days or weeks. If you are still unable to return to work due to your injury, the workers' comp insurance company may need to learn more about your medical condition and will request the IME. The results of this exam could mean three things:
1. You are able to return to work and must do so or risk losing your job.
2. You are still healing from your injuries and more time is needed. You will continue to draw the same benefits from workers' comp.
3. You are permanently disabled and eligible for a different type of workers' comp benefit, such as lump sum or lifetime payments.
Preparing for the exam.
You can get a better result from your exam if you are prepared and can provide the doctor with the information needed to form an opinion of your condition.
1. Review your information and be ready to answer questions about the day of accident. Re-read and review all documentation, such as the original accident report and look through your medical procedures, tests, surgeries, medications, etc., to familiarize yourself with the recent past. Be sure to stay consistent and accurate with your answers and information given to the IME doctor. Don't hesitate to take your written information file into the exam room and to refer to it if needed.
2. Be ready to discuss the impact that the accident has had on your life, not only on your ability to do your job, but to your day-to-day life as well. Make a list of how the discomfort, pain, and mobility issues are still preventing you from doing your job and affecting your home life. Don't leave out the mental health aspect; a work injury can have a devastating effect on your emotional life, leading to depression, anxiety, mood changes, sleep disturbances and more.
3. Be aware of the scrutiny you will be facing at the exam. You may be observed (or even recorded) from the moment you leave your car, so take care not to give a false impression for the sake of embarrassment about a limp or other mobility issue.
If you are experiencing problems with your workers' comp claim, contact a workers compensation attorney like Hardee and Hardee LLP as soon as possible.