You’ve learned the basics of an independent medical examination (IME) in your workers’ compensation case, but in order to strengthen your case, you will need to prepare for your IME like you would any other exam—well, in a manner of speaking.
The IME is meant to verify the claims you’ve made in your workers’ compensation case regarding your injury and your course of treatment. You may think that since you were honest in filing your claim that the IME should be relatively easy to “pass,” but the reality is that your employer (or more likely, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer) is looking for inconsistencies. This means that even if you know that your claim is perfectly legitimate, you will need to come to your IME prepared.
How Do I Prepare for an Independent Medical Exam?
IMEs are a lot more involved than just showing up to a doctor and proving that you are injured. You will need to arrive armed with the proper information, and you can do this by knowing:
- Your symptoms. Many attorneys advise clients to keep a detailed journal of their symptoms over the course of the injury and treatment. Being clear on your symptoms—including when/how they occur and how they affect your daily activities—can help the doctor verify the nature of your injury.
- How the injury occurred. As soon as possible after the accident, you should have written down exactly how your injury occurred, if only in your communications with your employer. Be sure to review your own telling of the accident to refresh your memory and keep your account consistent.
- The treatment you have been prescribed. For serious injuries, treatment can last for weeks, months, or even years. You should be able to recount your treatment from immediately post-injury through today, as well as forecasted treatment plans. If you are unsure, or cannot remember, consult with your treating physician to verify prior to your IME.
- Your medical history. The IME will almost certainly ask you about your medical history, especially if you had a previous injury that was similar to your current injury. Be sure that you are able to explain pre-existing or prior injuries in detail, including how and when you were injured, the differences between the two injuries, and any treatment you sought in relation to those injuries.
You may feel as though the IME is an interrogation, and in a way, it is just that. The doctor conducting the exam will be asking you several questions, and it is easy to go on the defensive. Your best defense is to come prepared and informed, and be able to answer any questions clearly. You may also want to consult an attorney to be sure that your rights are protected, and Chris Hudson can help—contact him by phone or by live chat to schedule your free consultation, and learn more about the workers’ compensation claims process today.