When a work-related injury puts you on bed rest instead of on the job, you will begin to appreciate the value of your workers' compensation insurance. This employer-provided insurance coverage allows hurt workers to take it easy and allow their injuries to heal while they earn a partial wage. In some cases, the status of your injury deserves further investigation and an independent medical exam (IME) is ordered. The way you handle this medical exam can have a major bearing on the way your benefits continue, so read on to learn more.
Who Performs the Exam?
A workers' compensation doctor that you have had no previous contact with will be conducting the exam. It can be difficult to deal with having to explain your injuries to a totally new doctor, but if you fail to comply with the exam your workers' comp benefits will end. Be sure to restrain any negative feelings you may have about the exam and the doctor and treat the exam with attention, polite behavior, and lots of preparation.
Bring Along Some Support
In some cases, your accident at work happened several weeks or months ago, leading to some fuzzy memories. You will be questioned by the doctor about the accident and your medical treatment so fuzziness won't do. Avail yourself of all past documentation about the accident to refresh your memories. There is nothing to prohibit you from taking your documentation and notes with into the exam, but be sure to organize them so that you won't be fumbling around for information. Appearing flustered or disorganized could be seen as a sign of malingering.
In addition to paperwork, you can also bring along a support person. Your spouse, friend, or coworker can accompany you to lend some confidence and help you respond to questions. Besides serving as a vital form of moral support, this person can make notes about the exam and what the doctor says during it.
What to Expect
The doctor will ask you questions about how you are doing today in regard to your work injury. If you are still experiencing pain and discomfort, now is the time to let the doctor know about it. The main point of an IME is to establish whether or not you are healed from your work injury well enough to return to your job. In fact, if you are permanently disabled from the accident, the results of the IME will need to bear that information out. Once the doctor has completed the report to the insurance company, the result will be provided to you. If you are told to return to your job and you are still unable to do so, speak to a workers' comp attorney at once. If you are told that you are permanently disabled, you will need an attorney to help you negotiate for the very best settlement possible.
Contact a firm, like Prediletto, Halpin, Scharnikow & Nelson, P.S., for more help.