Were you recently injured on the job? Filing a workers’ compensation claim is a viable way to get the compensation you deserve. The independent medical examination (IME) is one of the most significant milestones of your case. It’s necessary because your employer’s insurance company wants to verify that your claimed injuries are legitimate.
Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean you can simply book an appointment with your general practitioner and deliver a “doctor’s note” as proof. Instead, the insurance company selects a healthcare provider for you. This creates a legitimate concern that the doctor, who is paid by the insurance company, might not be impartial.
Don’t worry—with the right knowledge and approach, you can ensure the workers’ comp independent medical examination works in your favor. Here’s what to do before and during an IME for the best results:
- Don’t miss your appointment: Never, under any circumstances, miss your workers’ comp examination. Failing to show up gives the insurer a valid reason to deny your claim. If something dire comes up, explain the situation and reschedule your appointment as soon as possible.
- Bring along a trusted friend: Having a friend or family member accompany you is about more than just having moral support. This person could be a valuable witness, especially if they work in healthcare.
- Dress appropriately: Let your attire echo your injury. For instance, if you’re claiming a sprained ankle, don’t wear high heels. Remember, it’s about conveying authenticity and consistency.
- Find out what the IME doctor already knows: Expect the insurance claims adjuster to provide the doctor with a description of your injury, the medical treatment you’ve already received, and any disputed questions about your medical condition. You can ask to review this letter in advance so you can correct any discrepancies and familiarize yourself with your medical records.
- Be punctual: Aim to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment. This reflects your commitment and provides ample time to complete paperwork and prepare mentally.
- Recount the incident: Be prepared to revisit the events of your workplace injury. Having a clear, consistent account boosts your credibility.
- Stay true to your symptoms: Be honest, thorough, and genuine in conveying your current condition. This means avoiding exaggeration while not downplaying your pain.
- Be aware of how you present yourself: Realize that you’re being watched the moment you step into the examination center. Be consistent in your actions, words, and claimed injuries.
- Speak guardedly: Answer your IME doctor’s questions directly without delving into unnecessary details or veering off-topic. You are not obligated to provide your complete medical history.
Contact a Knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation Attorney
At Gelman Gelman Wiskow & McCarthy, LLC, we have served injured workers with professionalism and compassion since 1950. Our experience extends beyond workers’ compensation to other areas like medical malpractice, auto accidents, and more. Ready to secure persistent representation and get the compensation you deserve? Call us at 862-263-0770 or contact us online to schedule your free, one-hour consultation at one of our five New Jersey offices.