What Do You Need to Know To Prepare for a Workers’ Compensation IME – Independent Medical Examination Doctor’s Appointment for an Injury Claim?
“Must I attend an IME Exam in Pennsylvania?” Tips for Your IME – Independent Medical Examination – for Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Following a Work-related Injury or Illness
What Do You Need to Know To Prepare for a PA Workers’ Compensation IME – Independent Medical Examination?
You just learned that the Workers’ Compensation insurance company wants you to go to their doctor for another opinion they can use for their side of your PA Workers Comp case. You are wondering, “What is an IME appointment for a Workers’ Compensation case?” IME stands for Independent Medical Evaluation or Independent Medical Examination that is often requested by an accident or Workers’ Compensation insurance company to document your medical conditions and health status. Now you ask, “Do I have to go to an IME doctor appointment for my Workers’ Compensation case in Pennsylvania? If you are collecting Workers’ Compensation benefits or you are making a claim for benefits, the insurance company is allowed to send you to one of their doctors two times per year (sometimes called a second opinion). The real purpose is for the insurance company to see if they can find a doctor who is willing to say that you are no longer injured or you never were injured in the first place.
You should have a Pennsylvania Workers Compensation lawyer at this point, but if you do not, here are a few things to consider:
- The letter telling you to go to the exam instructs you to bring medical records and diagnostic results. Why? They want you to do the work for them and make it easier for their doctor to find against you. I always advise my clients that we should not make their job any easier than it already is. When you give the doctor your records and results, it simply makes his opinion look more credible before the judge. Why help their case against you? TIP: Do not provide your records and results.
- Show up on time for your IME appointment and bring a trusted family member or friend with you. The doctor will author a report that will contain many things that you said or that he or she said which you do not recall or just are not true. It is best to have someone with you that can be a witness to the questions the doctor asks you and your responses. When your case gets before a judge, your testimony and your witness’s testimony can help your cause. TIP: Bring a trusted witness to the IME appointment.
- Give your best effort in the exam. IME doctors love to say that the injured worker is malingering or not giving their best effort during the exam. Exaggerating your injury or not attempting to give your best effort allows the doctor to discredit your symptoms and never plays well with the Judge. TIP: Present your illness or injuries as they truly are.
- Think about the paperwork they have you fill out. I advise my clients NOT to fill out paperwork at the IME unless I can review it first. Often the questions posed are misleading and/or designed to trip you up. Answering questions in written form can only hurt your case. Nothing prevents the IME doctor from asking you questions. The examination is not recorded, so your verbal answers will only be known to you and the doctor (and the witness you bring along – See #2.). TIP: Do not answer questions in writing without a legal review.
It is always best to seek legal advice before the IME and I always advise that you retain counsel before talking to a doctor so that your lawyer can best posture your case at all turns.
If you have been asked to go to see Workmens Comp IME – Independent Medical Examiner by an insurance company for your Workers’ Compensation claim, please call for a free case review before you fill out more forms or talk to a doctor. Contact Bill Gregory, recognized as one of the top injury and disability lawyers in Pennsylvania who knows how to help victims of workplace injuries and their families after a work-related disability, injury, illness, or death has impacted your life. Call us for a no-pressure, Workers’ Compensation benefits consultation at 717.656.5000.
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