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Preparing for you independent medical examination

On Behalf of | Jan 22, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

After you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, your doctor will prescribe a course of treatment. However, if your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer disputes the recommended care, then they’ll request that you undergo an independent medical examination. The thought is that this second evaluation will be conducted by a neutral medical provider who will give an unbiased opinion as to your ability to work and the treatment that you need.

In practice, though, independent medical examiners aren’t as unbiased as they’re supposed to be. After all, there’s no doctor-patient relationship established, and the medical examiner, who is likely contracted with the insurance company, as a financial incentive to give an opinion that’s favorable to your employer and its workers’ compensation insurer.

Given that the results of an independent medical examination can carry a lot of weight in your workers’ compensation case, you need to know how to control it as much as possible. That’s why this week we want to discuss how you can effectively prepare for your independent medical examination.

How you can prepare for your workers’ compensation independent medical examination

Even though it can feel like you don’t have control over your independent medical examination, there are some steps you can take to better protect your interests. This includes:

  • Being ready to describe your accident: The medical examiner is going to ask about the accident that led to your injuries. You need to clearly state the facts surrounding your workplace accident while being consistent with other statements you’ve made and without exaggerating.
  • Being prepared to be honest: You shouldn’t embellish or otherwise exaggerate your injuries during your independent medical examination. If you do, then the examiner and the insurance company are likely to find discrepancies in your reported injuries that could hamper your case. On the other hand, don’t try to minimize the extent of your harm, as the insurance company will latch onto that to deny or reduce the value of your claim.
  • Being mindful of surveillance: Believe it or not, the insurance company might’ve hired an investigator to assess your case. This investigator might look over your social media or even follow you to see how you’re acting in light of your injuries. Therefore, don’t say anything to the medical examiner that might contradict how you’ve been acting and how your injuries are truly making you feel. Otherwise, you’ll be caught in a position where your credibility could be drawn into question.
  • Being prepared to discuss pre-existing injuries: In several workers’ compensation cases, the insurance company denies benefits based on pre-existing injuries or medical conditions. Therefore, when asked about your pre-existing conditions, be sure to focus on any new symptoms, increased pain, and new limitations that have arisen since your workplace accident.
  • Indicating your intent: You should be clear with the medical examiner that your intent is to recover your health and get back to work. If you specify otherwise, then the insurance company might use that to demonstrate that you’re trying to take advantage of the system and unjustifiably remain out of work.

Don’t get tangled up in the intricate web of your workers’ compensation case

There’s a lot of nuances to a workers’ compensation case. As such, it’s easy to get lost and confused by the process, putting you at risk of making a costly mistake that jeopardizes your claim.

By learning as much as you can about the workers’ compensation process, you can strengthen your ability to build an effective workers’ compensation case and increase your chances of obtaining a positive outcome. So, if you’re ready to fight for what you deserve, then now is the time to get to work building your claim.