If you’re 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 these steps.
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.