It's not unusual for workers' comp insurance to request claimants undergo independent medical examinations (IME) by healthcare professionals of its choosing. What most people don't know is the insurance company will send the IME doctor information and a list of questions to answer about your condition. This can be problematic for a number of reasons, but mostly because it may introduce a measure of prejudice into the exam that can hurt your case. Here are a couple of things you can do to ensure you get a fair evaluation.
Request a Copy of the Letter
As a claimant, you have the right to access any information related to your case, and that includes communication sent to other people regarding your claim. This means you can and should request a copy of any information sent to the IME doctor before you go to your appointment. You need to know what the insurance company is saying about you and correct any misinformation or mistakes that could lead the healthcare provider to misdiagnose you.
Obtaining the letter will also let you see what type of information the insurance provider is looking for, which can help you prepare better for the examination. For instance, if workers' comp wants to confirm how much function you have left in your arm, you can bring the related records from other healthcare providers that address the issue. This can make it easier for the doctor to evaluate you and help support any statements you make about your condition.
To obtain a copy of the letter, you typically must submit a request to workers' comp in writing. Do this as soon as you learn they want you to undergo an IME to allow plenty of time for the insurance provider to receive and process your request.
Keep Track of Your Symptoms
You should be keeping a journal detailing your medical condition from the date you were injured. This type of journal can be immeasurably helpful in showing how your health has changed over time, demonstrating whether you're responding to treatment, and justifying further compensation if necessary.
As such, it's a good idea to take your journal to your appointment with the IME doctor. Not only can it help you more accurately answer questions about the various aspects of your injury and treatment, but it can also provide the doctor with a good snapshot of your health as it currently is, which may reduce the risk of him or her making unfavorable assumptions that harm your case.
For more help about this issue or for advice on how to proceed with your workers' compensation case, contact an attorney like Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn LLP.Share