In 2018, more than $48.3 million in net premiums were written for workers comp insurance. The workers’ compensation process can feel stressful and scary. But it doesn’t have to be!
Have you recently suffered from a workplace injury? Don’t be nervous, we’re here to help! Here’s what you need to know about this process, including what to say and what not to say to workers comp doctor.
An independent medical examination (IME) provides expert opinion about your case. This third-party physician can provide an outside opinion about the extent of your injury and your ability to work.
These examinations are serious, so be sure that’ you’re prepared. First, make sure you know the date, time, and location of your exam. You don’t want to arrive late or miss your appointment, which may result in a suspension of your benefits.
Also, become familiar with your past medical history. The IME doctor will have all your past medical records, including any prior injuries. So if you have any previous injuries to the same area, don’t conceal them.
You’ll also want to review how the accident happened. Even if you simply misremember what happened, inconsistencies can be considered a sign of workers’ compensation fraud. That’s why you should review your timeline of the events leading up to your injury.
Look over documents about your current course of treatment for this injury, if you have any. You don’t need to recall exact details, which the doctor will already have. But you should be able to provide general information about treatments and medication.
During your exam, there are a few things you have to remember. The first is easy: be polite. While you may feel like it, the IME doctor is not out to get you. They just want the truth.
Even if they aren’t friendly, respond with kindness. Hostility will only harm your case.
Next, always be honest. Do not play up or downplay certain symptoms or situations. If you always tell the truth, you won’t run the risk of contradicting your own story, which can ruin your case.
Physicians have methods to determine how honest you are about your symptoms. And they have years of professional experience. Getting caught lying can ruin all credibility.
If you have past injuries to the same body part, distinguish how this injury differs from past ones. For example, tell them if you haven’t had any symptoms since the old injury healed, or if you’re experiencing new symptoms or more pain, tell them. You don’t want the doctor to state that your old injury is the cause of the current one, so be specific.
Finally, be open and honest about your limitations. Don’t exaggerate, but don’t downplay them, either.
For example, if you have trouble walking, don’t claim that you can’t walk at all. A video may show you walking with ease, which will hurt your credibility. Instead, you can say that you have trouble walking long distances.
Finally, be consistent. If it helps, you can write notes and bring them to the exam with you so you can keep track of all that’s happened.
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