Tips for how to prepare for an independent medical examination (IME) report in a workers’ compensation case include:
- Reviewing any paperwork your employer’s insurer sends to the doctor
- Deciding what you want to say to the doctor ahead of time
- Consulting a workers’ compensation attorney, so you know your rights and duties in this situation
- Getting proper support from friends and loved ones
The third consideration is extremely important. By consulting an injury attorney after your on-the-job accident, you can preserve your right to benefits and seek damages.
What Is an IME Report?
To understand how to prepare for an IME, it’s important to know what it is in the first place.
After a workplace injury, you should seek medical help right away. The doctor you visit can diagnose your condition, explain your treatment options, and so on. If the insurance adjuster from your employer’s workers’ comp insurer believes this doctor’s opinion is insufficient, it may ask you to see another doctor. This second doctor will include their findings in the IME report.
The insurer or a judge may use an IME report in a workers compensation case to decide:
- Whether you deserve compensation at all
- Whether you deserve the amount and types of compensation you want
- If you can return to work or if you should stay home and continue receiving benefits
Tips for Preparing for an IME in a Workers’ Compensation Claim
The following considerations could strengthen your workers’ compensation case:
Review All Information Related to Your Examination
Before arriving for the examination, the insurer may send the doctor a letter with details of your case and specific questions they would like to see answered.
As you may imagine, the insurer’s assessment of your condition and eligibility for workers’ compensation may not match up with your own perceptions. This is why you should prepare for an IME report by:
- Finding out if the insurer has sent any material to the doctor and, if so, asking for a copy of these materials
- Carefully reviewing all of the materials to make sure they are factually accurate
- Contacting both the insurer and the doctor if you notice any errors in the materials
Rehearse for Your IME Report
“Rehearsing” in this case does not mean making up a story that you think will net benefits. Rather, you will want to spend some time:
- Mentally reviewing how the accident happened
- Making a list of your injuries and how they affected you, including your health, job, and mobility
- Practicing what you will say out loud to see if it sounds right and natural
A Los Angeles personal injury attorney can help you articulate any information you should share with the doctor. They have dealt with workers’ comp cases before, so they know what questions the doctor is likely to ask and prepare you accordingly.
For example, the doctor might ask:
- How did the injury happen? What were you doing at the time of the accident?
- When did you first seek treatment for the injury?
- What kinds of treatment have you received? Have you kept up with all of these treatments?
- How did the injury feel when it first happened? How does it feel now?
- Have your injuries improved with treatment?
- In what ways can you use the injured area? In what ways are you still unable to use it, and why?
A workers’ comp attorney can make sure you answer all of these questions completely and accurately.
Consider Consulting a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Although the doctor conducting the IME is supposed to be impartial, they are often appointed by your employer’s insurer. This relationship could influence how they assess your health.
In hiring a workers compensation attorney Los Angeles to preserve your rights, you can have someone to turn to for advice and protection if:
- The insurer rejects your claim for benefits.
- You disagree with the IME doctor’s assessment.
- The insurer tries to offer less than you deserve.
You can also rely on your lawyer to take care of all other legal tasks associated with filing for workers’ comp benefits, including:
- Selecting the right forms, advising you on how to complete them, and submitting them to all necessary parties
- Collecting proof of your injury from your medical records, witness statements, and other available sources
- Communicating with all the other involved parties to ensure they treat you fairly
- Negotiating for the benefits you need
They can also answer any questions you have if you are ever confused or uncertain about how to handle your case.
Get Proper Support Before an IME
Preparing for an IME report can be nerve-wracking. You know that the results of the report may determine your eligibility for compensation and whether you can afford to stay home from work or receive certain medical treatments.
It is important to get the support you need before going in for an independent medical examination. This could mean:
- Telling loved ones about your anxieties
- Spending “down time” with friends and relatives or by yourself
- Talking to your lawyer to learn about what you need to do
- Refraining from strenuous activity that could aggravate your physical or mental health
If the IME Report Is Unfavorable, You Have Legal Options
Hopefully, the IME physician will render an accurate and fair report that compels your employer’s insurer to offer benefits. If this does not happen, you have options for expressing your disagreement and continuing your pursuit of benefits. After an unfavorable report, you can talk to your lawyer about what to do. They may suggest:
- Going over the details of the report and raising an objection if there are any inaccuracies
- Reviewing the IME doctor’s qualifications to ensure they have the expertise and knowledge to fairly evaluate your injuries
- Asking the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) to reconsider your case, if the unfavorable IME report affects your benefits
Start Preparing Your Workers’ Compensation Case Today
KJT Law Group can explain how to prepare for an IME report in a workers’ compensation case. Call us at (818) 507-8525 to get a free case evaluation today. We want to make sure your employer, their insurer, and the assigned doctor treat you fairly.