When an injured employee files for workers’ compensation benefits, an independent examination is often required, the outcome of which can have a big impact on the outcome of one’s claim and ability to receive benefits. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure you are well-prepared for this exam. Remember, the physician who conducts the independent medical examination will be selected by your employer’s insurance company, so saying or doing the wrong thing can cost you.
We have compiled a list of tips that can help you effectively prepare for your independent medical examination:
- Find out what the insurance company told or asked the physician you will be visiting: Everything relating to your injury, including your symptoms and current course of treatment, will be written out in a letter addressed to the doctor who will conduct your exam. It will provide the framework for what he or she will focus on during your appointment, so it is important that you take a look at this letter beforehand, so you can correct any mistakes and ensure any questions you are asked are appropriate. Make your request for this letter in writing and file a copy with the office of the state workers’ compensation agency where your claim was filed.
- Be familiar with your history: The doctor you visit for your independent medical examination will have access to any relevant medical records, including those regarding previous injuries to the same body part that was affected by your recent workplace injury or illness. He or she will ask you questions about your medical history, so take a moment to review past records and, whatever you do, never attempt to conceal a previous injury or downplay them. Be honest and only state the facts.
- Review how it happened: You will also be asked about the accident or how your injury or illness was sustained, so review your statements regarding what happened to ensure you are able to answer these questions with consistency. Although the workers’ compensation system is not based on fault, changes in your story might be used as evidence that you are not telling the truth regarding where your injury happened.
- Know your course of treatment: You can expect to be questioned about your treatment history for your workplace injury, so make sure you take some time to review the tests, surgeries, or other treatments and procedures you have had thus far. That said, this is not a memory test, so no one is expecting you to remember exact dates. As long as you have a general knowledge of what treatments you received and when, this should be sufficient enough.
- Review your symptoms: Are you experiencing the same symptoms you initially were after you sustained your workplace injury or illness, or has it worsened or lessened? Do you have difficulty performing everyday tasks or activities? You will be asked in detail about your symptoms and any physical limitations you might have due to your injury, so write them down to make sure you include everything.
- Dress appropriately: If you injured your ankle at work, do not show up to your independent medical examination in a pair of high heel shoes. Moreover, if your injury or illness requires that you wear or use some sort of assistive device, such as crutches, a sling, or dark sunglasses, make sure you wear it or take it with you.
- Take a friend with you: Plan to bring a trusted friend or family member with you to your independent medical examination. This person will not have to speak during your exam. Instead, they should just take notes, provide moral support, and act as a witness to your exam.
With the right amount of preparation, your independent medical exam should go smoothly. You should also hire skilled legal representation as soon as possible to increase your chances of obtaining the benefits you rightfully deserve.
Knowledgeable Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Santa Ana
If you sustained an injury in the workplace, it is imperative that you begin the process of filing your claim now and hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. At Ufkes & Bright in Santa Ana, our team of attorneys has fought on behalf of injured workers for over 50 years. When you choose to work with us, you will get a team that focuses on hands-on, personalized assistance, and big firm results.