‘How to Handle Your Workers’ Compensation Independent Medical Examination
Many people, such as casino or hotel employees, who are injured in the workplace, are asked to undergo an independent medical examination or “IME.” These are often requested when there is a question or a dispute as to which benefits an injured worker is entitled.
Your IME can have a significant impact on the amount of benefits you receive today and in the future. This is why it is imperative that injured workers be aware of:
- The purpose of the exam
- How it can affect their case
What Is an IME?
Your IME will be performed by a medical provider who is supposed to provide an expert opinion on your:
- Medical condition
- Level of disability
After the examination, the doctor will then issue a report that answers a variety of questions regarding your condition. Some of the questions include:
- Has there been a correct diagnosis?
- Did an accident in the workplace or exposure cause your condition?
- What is the extent of your impairment?
- Will you require additional treatment or testing for your condition?
- Are work restrictions necessary?
- Will you be able to return to work (and in what capacity)?
While these questions may appear innocuous, injured workers must keep in mine that the IME practitioner has very likely been hired by either the employer or its insurance company. The IME may, however, also be ordered by Nevada’s workers’ compensation agency, or it may be ordered by your own attorney to counter a previous report provided by an IME.
How to Prepare for an Exam
Preparation is key for an IME, and that is something with which our personal injury attorneys at Bertoldo, Baker, Carter and Smith can help you.
Some key areas we address include:
- Knowing your medical history: The IME physician will have a copy of the medical records related to your condition, and you should as well. This will include previous injuries and ailments. It is important to not conceal any previous injuries, but to point out how your current injury or condition differs from any past injury
- Review how the accident happened: Write down in clear detail how the accident happened, and bring these notes to the examination. You can then refer to them during your visit. Be as detailed and thorough as possible, as the physician is likely to ask a number of in-depth and sometimes unexpected questions
- Write down your current symptoms: If you are still experiencing physical symptoms from your injury, let the physician know. Write down any pains, symptoms, or limitations like headaches, difficulties concentrating, or trouble sleeping
- Share your course of treatment: You will be asked questions about your history for treating this injury, so be sure to write down which tests, surgeries and/or additional procedures were taken thus far
- Dress appropriately: If you show up in heels with a claimed ankle or knee injury, the physician will be sure to take note. Dress appropriately for your condition and bring any devices you need for your injury such as a sling, crutches or dark sunglasses.
- Arrive early – and bring a witness: Arrive ten to fifteen minutes before your expected arrival, and bring a trusted companion along with you. Your friend will not speak during the exam but should take notes on your behalf, act as a witness, and provide much needed emotional support
It is common to feel anxious or agitated after an exam, particularly if the exam has been ordered by your employer or Nevada’s workers’ compensation agency. Remain polite and respectful at all times, and never assume that the practitioner is “out to get you.”
If you did not have a witness present during the examination, sit down and take notes on what you remember about the event, how long it lasted, what you were asked and what tests were performed.
Suffering an injury at a workplace like a casino, hotel, or restaurant can be particularly stressful as the actual employer may not know who you are and might immediately refute your workers’ compensation claim. In these situations, it is important to stay calm, file the necessary paperwork on time, and to consult a personal injury attorney if necessary.
The personal injury attorneys at Bertoldo, Baker, Carter and Smith have consistently provided our clients with positive results, and we are committed to ensuring that your rights are upheld in a court of law.
We will help you to properly prepare for your IME, which is one of the first steps to protecting yourself and ensuring the best possible compensation for your injury. You can speak with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys today at (702) 228-2600.