Independent medical examinations: What to expect with your workers' compensation.
Updated: Mar 23, 2021
We’ve all been there. Lost, hurt, confused, and wishing things could be different… If you are someone that is currently in the midst of a workers’ compensation case, you know just how grueling the entire process can be. If you are here to gather some information on how to handle your new and very complicated situation, we hope to give you the type of advice that will result in your case being handled with the utmost respect for you and your injury and/or illness.
#1. Do you remember that old saying of “patient/doctor confidentiality”? Well, if you are involved in a workers compensation case, we suggest you throw that sentiment out the window (at least for the time being). While your examining doctor should certainly still treat you with the same respect and dignity as if you were there as an independent patient, the same rules don’t necessarily apply. Once you sign off for your place of employment to pay for your medical expenses, they are now privy to all the medical records from that day forward (until they are no longer being held responsible for said expenses). While it is still important to keep an open line of communication with your doctor, just keep in mind that in a worker’s compensation situation, everything you say can be reported back to your place of employment.
#2. It is also important to remember that once you involve your place of employment into your injury and/or illness, you are also welcoming them into your day to day world in a very big way. For example: It would greatly hurt your case if you are claiming the need for your employer to pay for your medical expenses for a shoulder surgery and then they come across you playing basketball at a local park. Once your injuries are presented to your employer, they will start trying to dig into your life and try to find ways to avoid payment. Be sure to keep this in mind at all times while in the midst of your worker’s compensation case. One of the most common ways for your employer to try and find a way out of paying for your medical expenses is through an Independent Medical Exam.
#3. Why an “Independent Medical Exam?” Unfortunately while you have nothing to hide, your employer may be constantly looking. One of the easiest ways for them to do this is through the use of an Independent Medical Exam where the employer and their lawyers select a doctor that they would like you to see for a second opinion. It is often their opportunity to try and prove that your injury and/or illness is not their responsibility, in which case the financial responsibility would fall on you, the employee. These independent exams do not hold the same set of rules as a normal doctor’s visit as mentioned earlier, but it is also important to note that you have the right to get your own opinion as well where the same adjusted rules apply. The most important part of your independent exams are to be consistent, accurate, and detailed about all of the information shared between you and your doctors. It is strongly advised to take notes and document everything throughout the entirety of your case. Having a lawyer work with you on this case will help you understand what you need to take notes on and how to ensure that you are fully covered by your employer for any and all medical expenses.
Being injured and/or retaining an illness on the job is always a complicated situation. Keep these three easy pieces of advice in mind when entering into your claim process, and we can assure it will help you in receiving the funds you seek from your employer. While being prepared for this process will help immensely, it is still suggested to consult with a lawyer on your particular case to ensure payment. We here at L&C want to help you, and we are happy to offer a free consultation call to see how we can help you and your family survive your injury and/or illness. Our top priority is to help you and your family remain safe and secure while you are recovering.