One of the consolations of being injured on the job is the availabily of workers' comp insurance to take care of all of your related medical bills and to keep your finances stable with a portion of your pay while you recuperate. You likely have seen far too many doctors lately as a result of your injury, but you may be contacted by the workers' compensation insurance agency to see yet another, different type of doctor. If you have been asked to undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME), you need to understand why you are being asked to do this and how it could affect your ability to continue to receive workers' comp benefits. Read on to learn more.
Why am I being asked to undergo this exam?
If your medical condition does not seem to be getting better and you are still unable to return to work, the insurance company will request that you see a doctor of their choosing to determine the status of your injury. While being asked to undergo this exam does not automatically mean that you are in danger of losing your benefits, it should put you on alert to be prepared for the exam and its results. For example, if the exam finds that your injury is permanent, you may be awarded a lifetime of benefits. If, on the other hand, they find that you are able to return to work and you find yourself unable to do so, you may have a problem.
How should I prepare for the IME?
As mentioned above, the IME doctor is chosen (and paid) by the workers' comp insurance company. These doctors normally "specialize" in IME's, and you should not assume that this exam is like any other you've ever had. There will be no treatment given at this exam; instead you will questioned about your injury and the remaining effects of the injury. Vital signs will be taken, and, sometimes, depending on the nature of your injury, diagnostic tests are performed, such as blood tests, x-rays and others. Take care about everything you say and do during this exam; unlike your care with a regular doctor, all info will be shared with the workers' comp insurance company.
Tips for the IME
1. You may be monitored from the time you leave your car in the parking lot until you return to it.
2. Be polite and respectful, but don't get so comfortable that you accidentally say something you should not.
3. You have the right to bring your notes with you into the exam room.
4. Don't be shy about explaining how the injury is continuing to affect not only your ability to return to your job, but also your daily life.
If you are having trouble with your workers' comp claim, contact a workers' comp attorney at a law firm like Erickson Law Office as soon as possible.
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