If you have been hurt on the job, Pennsylvania law allows your employer’s insurance company to make you to go through an Independent Medical Exam, which is an examination from a doctor of the insurance company’s choosing.
Since these doctors work for the insurance company and therefore may not have your best interest in mind, it’s good to come into the Independent Medical Exam prepared and to make sure you don’t make any mistakes that could cost you your workers’ compensation benefits. Below are a few tips to help you get through your Independent Medical Exam successfully and without hassle.
1. Memorize the Details
This will prevent you from accidentally leaving out any details. The day before your exam, write down all of the information that is relevant to your injury and go over it several times. This includes information about your symptoms, what types of activities are causing you pain, any restricted movement you are facing, and what types of treatments help your injuries. If you forget even the smallest detail when discussing the injury with your doctor, the insurance company could use this information against you and may accuse you of withholding information.
2. Be Respectful
Since the doctor is working for the insurance company, the last thing you want to do is make them angry. Make sure you cooperate (unless the doctor oversteps their boundaries, which we will discuss in the next step), arrive on time, and don’t lose your temper.
3. Do Not Allow the Doctor to Overstep His or Her Boundaries
The purpose of this visit is for the doctor go give their professional opinion about the severity of your injury. They should not provide consultation for any other medical conditions or ask any unnecessary questions. If you and the doctor discuss any medical issues unrelated to your work related injury, the insurance company may use this as an excuse to not pay for the appointment.
Furthermore, the doctor should not ask questions in relation to who is at fault for the accident. Questions such as “How fast were you driving?”, “Who gave you permission to do that?”, and “Were you wearing proper safety equipment?” are COMPLETELY unacceptable. If the doctor does begin asking you questions like this, politely but firmly tell the doctor that all of this information has been covered in the necessary legal documents. It is NOT the doctor’s job to discuss who is at fault.
Also, DO NOT agree to any extra scans or tests without first calling your lawyer. In fact, it’s a good idea to sit down with your attorney prior to the examination to discuss what questions and/or tests you should and should not agree to during the exam.
4. Be Honest
It is important that you be honest with your doctor about the severity of your injury. Do keep in mind that you are dealing with a medical professional. If you are exaggerating, they are going to be able to tell, and the insurance company will not hesitate to use this against you. You also need to give accurate information when it comes to your medical history. If it comes out in court that you have been dishonest about anything, it will definitely damage your case.
5. Take Notes
Immediately after the examination, take the time to write notes mentioning everything that was brought up or occurred during the exam. This will prevent the doctor or insurance company from lying in court about what took place in the doctor’s office.
If you remain consistent, honest, polite, and make sure your doctor doesn’t do anything they are not supposed to, you have nothing to worry about. Remember, if you live in the Harrisburg area and have been injured on the job, contact a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney right away.