Sneaky IME Doctor Tricks You Need to Know About
Many doctors chosen by the insurance company have done hundreds and maybe thousands of IME evaluations for workers’ compensation insurance claims. They do not work for the insurance company, but they may try to coerce patients into disclosing information that could discredit their workers’ compensation claim.
When going through an IME appointment, only discuss the current injury and remember that all answers are being recorded for insurance purposes. So, do not lie and do not stretch the truth. An IME doctor has certain legal obligations, and a workers’ compensation attorney at Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo can prepare an employee for the examination before the consultation with the doctor.
What is an IME Doctor?
An IME is an independent medical exam under Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry Workers’ Compensation Terms. This is common in Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation claims. After an employee has been injured, they should always seek their own medical attention. However, if the employee files a claim for their injury claim and reports what their doctor disclosed to them, the employer will likely request an independent medical examination to evaluate the injuries.
The IME will be done by a doctor selected through the insurance company. This doctor will then perform an examination of the employees’ injuries and report their findings. This is an important step in collecting workers’ compensation benefits and lost wages. Before an IME, it is important to discuss your case with an attorney so you know your legal rights and obligations.
What Should I Not Say at IME?
Most importantly, always be consistent with your answers. Do not disclosure information to the IME that you have not already disclosed to other medical professionals. It may be helpful to prepare an outline to ensure consistent answers.
Never discuss settlement case values with the doctor. It is best to never bring up the workers’ compensation claim altogether. Anything stated in the IME will be recorded and reported to the insurance company and employer.
If you do not know the answer to a question, state you do not know or ask for the question to be reworded. Never make up an answer to a question.
It may sound good to exaggerate symptoms because you think it could strengthen a claim, but do not exaggerate the symptoms. The doctor will report that they believe the patient to be exaggerating their symptoms and this will quickly result in a denied claim.
Do not bring up prior injuries or symptoms. Only discuss the injuries you are there for but do not withhold information about those injuries.
What Questions Are Asked During an IME?
The IME will be typical, similar to any other medical evaluation. The doctors are here to diagnose and potentially treat the injuries. It is important to answer all questions honestly. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions during an IME appointment:
- How did the injury occur?
- What symptoms are you having?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your pain level?
- Does the pain worsen when you do certain tasks or activities?
- Has this condition occurred in the past?
- Did you receive treatment for this injury?
- What medical treatments are you currently receiving?
- Are there any physical or mental limitations from the injury?
- What is a typical day like for you?
There are other questions an IME doctor may ask, but the root of his questions will be to determine what caused the injury, how serious the injury is, and what limitations the injury poses on the victim. Additionally, another point of the examination will be to see if the injury requires ongoing medical treatment.
It is important to be honest with each answer. Do not over-elaborate when answering the question. Be clear and concise. Never offer too much information. If the doctor needs you to explain something further, they will ask, but don’t voluntarily disclose anything that is not directly asked.
What Do I wear to IME?
Wear appropriate clothing for a typical doctor’s examination. Depending on the injury, the doctor may ask you to switch to a medical gown for the examination.
Wear clothes and shoes that suit your injury. If you have an ankle injury, it may not be wise to show up to the IME appointment in a pair of high heels. Wear clothes and shoes that match your injury.
Also, if you received medical attention for an injury and were told to wear a sling, use crutches, or wear a brace, then make sure to wear or use the prescribed medical equipment. However, if you were not told to use crutches, then do not bring your own crutches to the appointment to try to make the injury appear worse than it is.
Contacting an Attorney
An IME appointment should be like any other doctor’s appointment, and it should not be a point of stress or contention for the employee. However, it can be understandably worrisome if workers’ compensation benefits are on the line.
The workers’ compensation lawyers at Krasno, Krasno & Onwudinjo can help prepare you for your appointment and disclose all legal obligations for the insurance provider, employer, employee, and doctor.
Email or call us at (844) 243-4843 to start your initial consultation with a trusted Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney.