seeking workers’ compensation benefits, it’s not uncommon for employers and insurance claims adjusters
to request that you undergo a medical examination with an independent
physician of their choice. This is called an Independent Medical Exam
or an Insurance Medical Exam (IME). Don’t be intimidated by an IME;
it’s standard procedure in many workers’ compensation cases.
Workers’ Compensation Attorney Douglas F. Kaleita has handled hundreds
of Workers’ Compensation claims over 25 years of practice in this
area, and has a lot of information to assist you with receiving proper
medical care and dealing properly with medical examinations, including
both IME’s and regular office visits with your treating doctors.
You can increase the accuracy of your exam results, the handling of your
medical treatment, and the proper handling of your claim by following
Step 1: Don’t Exaggerate Your Symptoms
According to prominent doctors and surgeons in Atlanta and North Georgia,
the statistics show that an amazing 75% of Workers’ Compensation
claimants exaggerate their symptoms during medical examinations. This
includes patients who are devastatingly injured but fear being declared
fit to work when they are not. It’s tempting to think of an IME
physician as an ally of the insurance company that wants to deny your
claim. The same can be true with regard to the “company doctor”
to whom the insurance company sends you for actual treatment.
However, an IME doctor, just like a treating physician, is a trained medical
professional and ideally a neutral party. While it’s understandable
to want your doctor to take your pain seriously and support your claim,
tampering with the exam and exaggerating your symptoms could backfire.
IME doctors, just like treating physicians, have skills and tricks to
discover if a claimant is embellishing their symptoms, and the dishonesty
always throws off the exam results—and never to the benefit of the
claimant! Most of the large percentage of people who exaggerate their
symptoms during treatment or during IME’s do so simply because they
want the doctor to take them seriously. It is not necessary to exaggerate
symptoms for the doctor to take you seriously; it actually has the opposite effect.
Step 2: Tell the Truth
When it comes to your medical treatment, and to any IME, honesty is always
the best policy. This doctor has already read reports about your accident,
so be upfront and give an accurate account of the injury and any associated
pains. You’re going to be put through clever tests, including Waddell
testing, to check the validity of your injury. Don’t pretend a movement
hurts if it doesn’t. If you want sympathy points with your doctor,
just be upfront and honest.
Step 3: Don’t Hide Information
You’re going to be asked about your past medical history during treatment,
and during any IME. Don’t lie or hide information because you fear
it will affect your claim. If anything, remember that aggravations of
previous injuries are still covered in workers’ compensation claims.
Again, your IME doctor and your treating physician are trained to spot
liars, and any misinformation could hurt the results of the medical reports
and the integrity of your claim.
Your medical history includes:
- Previous injuries
- Previous illnesses
- Past hospitalizations
- Family history
- Past chiropractic care
- Past claims
Seek Legal Counsel
While it’s tempting, trying to avoid an IME can lead to your claim
being denied. You always have the opportunity to challenge the results
of an IME in court and through treatment with other doctors. If you’re
seeking workers’ compensation benefits in Sandy Springs, contact
Douglas F. Kaleita, P.C. Navigating the workers’ compensation system
can be confusing to the inexperienced. We can guide you in filing your
claim and fighting – or taking advantage of - your IME results in court.
Contact Douglas F. Kaleita, P.C.
at 886-665-7699 to schedule a free consultation.