March 17, 2016
I have been asked to do an Independent Medical Exam – what should I expect?
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) 825-5183. We represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case.