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March 17, 2016

I have been asked to do an Independent Medical Exam – what should I expect?

Independent Medical Exam

 

 

If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, chances are you may be asked to attend an independent medical examination (IME).  These examinations are often requested when there is a dispute about what benefits you are entitled to.  Below are a few simple guidelines to help you prepare for your IME.

What Is an Independent Medical Examination?

An independent medical examination (IME) is a medical examination conducted by a medical provider who may provide an expert opinion on your medical condition, your treatment, or the level of any disability that you currently have. Following the exam, the doctor will issue a report answering questions about your condition, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Has your condition been correctly diagnosed?
  • Did a workplace accident or exposure actually cause your condition?
  • What is the extent of your impairment?
  • Do you need additional treatment or testing for your condition?
  • Do you need work restrictions? And if so, what restrictions are appropriate
  • When will you be able to return to work?

Before the Exam

  • Arrive early. If you miss your appointment time, you may face consequences, such as having your benefits suspended. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to your appointment.
  • Be familiar with your medical history. The examiner will likely have all of your medical records related to your condition, including records of previous injuries to the same body part. The examiner will ask you about all of these things, so take a moment to review your medical history. Do not try to conceal any previous injuries or downplay them. However, you should point out how your injury or condition is different than it has been in the past.
  • Review how the accident happened. The examiner will ask you in detail about how the injury happened. Keep your answers brief, and make sure that they are consistent with what you have reported in the past.
  • Review your current symptoms. It is important to let the examiner know whether you are still experiencing pain, limitations, or other symptoms. Are you experiencing headaches or pain? Are you having difficulty with your everyday activities, such as walking, grooming, or sleeping? You will be asked in detail about your current symptoms and limitations, so make sure to include everything, no matter how minor it seems at the time.

During The Exam

  • Don’t exaggerate your symptoms. If you are caught exaggerating your symptoms, you will lose credibility and may have difficulty recovering the benefits that you’re entitled to.  Remember that examiners often have tests or other methods to help them determine how honest you’re being in reporting your pain, range of motion, or other symptoms. They also have years of experience examining injured people to determine if they are accurately reporting their pain.

After the Exam

Take a moment to write down what you remember about how long it lasted, what the doctor asked you, what tests the doctor performed, and so on.  Most importantly, contact your attorney.

At The Levin Firm, we understand that representing workers’ compensation claimants requires particular types of skills and knowledge, as well as ability to understand your rights as an employee. We understand these issues, and work with our clients, their friends and family, as well as their doctors, psychologists, long-term care planners, and others – to ensure that our clients receive not only the finest legal representation, but also the finest support and medical care.

Workers’ compensation claims are complex, and require attorneys who understand how to navigate the system, and who are willing to explain the status of your case to you every step of the way. At The Levin Firm, we investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member or friend who has been injured at work, contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183We represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case.

Sources:

1.      http://www.levininjuryfirm.com/practice-areas/workplace-injuries/workers-compensation/

2.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/employee-rights-book/chapter12-3.html

3.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-handle-your-workers-compensation-independent-medical-examination.html

4.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/workers-compensation

5.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/getting-fair-amount-from-your-workers-comp-settlement.html

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March 9, 2016

Is My Injury Work Related?

PA Work Injury

When you file a worker’s compensation claim, you will have to show that your injury or illness is work-related. Generally, if you were doing something for the benefit of your employer, and you were injured or became ill as a result, then your injury or illness is work-related and you can receive worker’s compensation benefits as long as the other eligibility requirements have been met.

Below are some common situations involving the “work related” requirement:

  1. Lunch Breaks: 

    Usually, injuries or illnesses that happen while an employee is taking a lunch break are not covered under workers’ compensation. However, if you were also picking up lunch for your boss, then there is a possibility that the injury might be covered.  In another example, if you sprained your ankle in a cafeteria on the company’s premises, then your injury might be covered by workers’ compensation.

  2. Company Events: 

    Injuries sustained at company events or parties are usually covered by workers’ compensation.

  3. Travel:

    If you are injured on your commute to or from work, your injury probably is NOT covered by workers’ compensation. However, if you are traveling for work your injuries will probably be covered.  In another example, if you are a traveling salesperson, then injuries you sustain while driving to meet with a customer will likely be covered.

  4. Misconduct: 

    If you were injured while breaking a workplace safety rule, your injury may still be covered by workers’ compensation, depending on the level of your misconduct. This is part of the workers’ compensation bargain: Employees do not have the right to sue their employer for work-related injuries, but those injuries are usually covered by workers’ compensation, regardless of fault.

  5. Hearing Loss: 

    People who work in noisy environments often suffer hearing loss over time.  And unless there is some other reason for the impairment, this injury is usually covered by workers’ compensation.

  6. Mental Conditions:

    Mental conditions that are job-related are covered by workers’ compensation. However, that it can be hard to prove that the mental condition actually exists and that it was caused by workplace events. This is a situation in which a consultation with a lawyer can help you decide how to proceed. Conditions caused by a stressful workplace environment can also be compensable.

  7. Diseases and Illnesses: 

    If you have a disease or illness that was caused by your job, then you are likely entitled to worker’s compensation.

At The Levin Firm, we understand that representing workers’ compensation claimants requires particular types of skills and knowledge, as well as ability to understand your rights as an employee. We understand these issues, and work with our clients, their friends and family, as well as their doctors, psychologists, long-term care planners, and others – to ensure that our clients receive not only the finest legal representation, but also the finest support and medical care.

Workers’ compensation claims are complex, and require attorneys who understand how to navigate the system, and who are willing to explain the status of your case to you every step of the way. At The Levin Firm, we investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member or friend who has been injured at work, contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183We represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case.

Sources:

1.      http://www.levininjuryfirm.com/practice-areas/workplace-injuries/workers-compensation/

2.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/employee-rights-book/chapter12-3.html

3.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/workers-compensation-injury-or-illness-32964.html

4.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-handle-your-workers-compensation-independent-medical-examination.html

5.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/workers-compensation

6.      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/getting-fair-amount-from-your-workers-comp-settlement.html

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February 1, 2016

Why was my worker’s compensation claim was denied?

Philly workers comp

 

Often, honest employees may have their worker’s compensation claims denied.  If this happens to you, contact an experienced worker’s compensation attorney at The Levin Firm to enforce your rights.  Below are a few reasons why your worker’s compensation claim may be denied.

1.No one witnessed your injury

Even if no one else saw your injury, you should still make sure to report the injury to your co-workers and to your supervisor immediately, and you should make sure that you tell everyone the exact same thing about how your injury occurred.

2.You Didn’t Report Your Injury Immediately

In most states, there is a small window of time where you can report work related injuries, so it is critical not to wait.  If you get hurt at work, report it to a supervisor immediately and fill out an accident report.

3.Discrepancy Between Your Accident Report and Medical Records

Be consistent when you describe your accident and how you sustained your injuries.  If you tell your supervisor that the accident happened one way, but tell your doctor that the accident happened in a different way, that will hurt your case.

4.Illegal Drugs in Your System

When you seek medical attention following your accident, the different types of tests performed on you could reveal the presence of illegal drugs in your system.  Clearly, this would lead the insurer to deny your worker’s compensation claim.  However, it is very important not to miss any medical appointments you may have. If you develop a pattern of missing medical appointments, the insurer will assume that your injury is not severe and will start looking for ways to terminate your benefits. If you are injured and unable to work, it is especially critical that you go to all of your medical appointments.

5.You Filed a Claim After You Were Fired

If you filed your worker’s compensation claim after you were laid off or fired from your job, the insurer will likely assume that the claim is nothing more than a frivolous revenge claim.

6.You Did not Give The Insurance Company a Recorded Statement or Refused to Sign Medical Authorizations

This is tricky, and is one of many reasons why you should consult with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney.  Workers’ compensation insurers will often ask injured employees to give a recorded statement describing the accident and the injuries. Unfortunately, that puts the employee in a really tough position.  For example, if the employee refuses to give the statement, then the insurance adjuster can tell the employee that their failure to give the statement prevented the insurer from starting their compensation benefits.

However, you can give the insurer a limited medical authorization.  In this case, the insurer would ask you to sign an authorization allowing it to obtain copies of your medical records. This request is reasonable as long as it is limited to the medical records and bills relating to your work injury. The insurer is allowed to see those records and bills. But you should not sign any authorizations allowing the insurer to get any other medical records or bills without discussing that authorization with a workers’ compensation lawyer.

The Philadelphia worker’s compensation lawyers at The Levin Firm understand these issues, and work together with a team of investigators and support staff to investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.

When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member or friend whose worker’s compensation claim has been denied, contact The Levin Firm at (215) 825-5183.  We represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case.

Sources

1.      http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/workers-compensation/why-claim-denied.html

2.      http://www.alllaw.com/articles/employment

 

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