In the state of California, workers that are injured and are filing a worker’s compensation claim are expected to go to an independent physician or clinic for a thorough examination. This is just one way that the legal process is standardized in the claim proceedings, but many people are intimidated by going to an unfamiliar doctor for an exam. These appointments, often called “independent medical exams,” or IMEs, are critical in determining what kind of benefits you will be eligible to receive, if any.
For this reason, it’s important to prepare yourself ahead of time on what to expect, and talk to your Southern California worker’s compensation attorney about how your IME can affect your case. Here are a few tips for handling your upcoming IME:
It’s always a good idea to know and understand your medical history before arriving to your appointment. Be able to correctly talk about any of your diagnoses, injuries, and medications, as well as the details of the work-related incident. Be able to communicate how your recent injury changed your ability to work and function.
Make sure that your appearance is consistent with your injury and/or recent disability. For example, if you are supposed to wear a sling for a hurt shoulder, remember to wear it on the day of your IME. If you have a sprained ankle, don’t show up in dress shoes or high heels, and if you claim to need certain accommodations or protections, like special eyewear, it’s a good idea to bring those with you.
The physician performing your IME will likely be from your employer’s insurance company, and while this may make you nervous, it’s important that you remain calm and cooperate to the best of your ability during the exam. Unless you truly feel that your rights are being violated, do what the doctor asks of you and answer their questions carefully. This exam is critical in your worker’s comp case, so try to make it as smooth as possible.
You are allowed to have someone accompany you to your IME, so consider bringing a friend or loved one that you trust. This person is not allowed to talk or interact during the exam, but they make take notes and provide emotional support, as well as assist you in arriving to and leaving from the exam office. This person can act as a witness, which can be helpful in some cases.
If you want experienced worker’s compensation attorneys in Southern California to assist with your case, get in touch with Jackson & Jackson today!