Nobody enjoys going to the doctor. The questions, the procedures, the poking and prodding into your personal life – what’s to like? Visiting the doctor’s office even for a routine checkup stirs anxiety in many patients as they worry they’ll receive bad news about their health. But if you’ve recently suffered a workplace injury or illness, being evaluated by a medical professional comes with an entirely new set of possible implications.
When you file a workers’ compensation claim, you may be asked to attend an independent medical examination to verify your medical condition, course of treatment or level of disability. This is often the case if there is a dispute about the benefits you’re entitled to. Because an independent medical examination can have pretty significant consequences when it comes to the amount of hospital bills covered by workers’ compensation, it’s important to know how to prepare for the exam.
What is an Independent Medical Examination?
When you are called to attend an independent medical examination, you are obligated to visit a doctor hired by your employer for a full exam. During your appointment, the doctor may perform tests and will ask you questions about your medical history, a detailed account of your workplace accident, your treatment history and current symptoms. After the exam, the doctor will submit a report drawing conclusions about your diagnosis and answering questions about your condition.
How Can I Prepare for an Independent Medical Examination?
The most important thing you can do to prepare for your exam is to be familiar with your medical history. It’s likely that the doctor will have a copy of your medical records in hand, which shows a history of previous injuries to the same body part. For this reason, it’s crucial not to conceal or downplay any previous trauma. You should, however, discuss how your current condition differs from ones you suffered in the past.
You should also be able to provide a detailed account of how you became injured or ill. Many employers will attempt to deny that your condition is work-related, and some examiners will try to find inconsistencies in your story. You can help your case by keeping your answers short and by making sure you’re telling your story exactly as you’ve reported it in the past.
Another way to prepare for your independent medical examination is to be familiar with what tests, surgeries or other treatments you’ve received thus far. You don’t need to remember specific dates or names of medications, but it’s smart to have a general knowledge of what medical attention you’ve been given and when. Also, be prepared to tell the doctor about any symptoms you’re currently experiencing, no matter how minor they seem at the time of your appointment.
You Don’t Have to do This Alone
While we can’t accompany you to the doctor’s office, we can review your case and counsel you on how to prepare for your exam. At the Law Office of Gerald D. Brody & Associates, we’ve advised countless injured workers prior to their independent medical examinations and helped them collect the benefits they deserve. We would be honored to provide you with the same service tailored to your specific circumstances.
Have you received notice that you need to attend an independent medical examination? Give us a call to meet with a workers’ compensation attorney today. Your initial consultation is free, and the expert legal advice you receive could make a big difference in your settlement.