Preparing for an Independent Medical Exam
If you are pursuing a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim, you may be required to undergo an independent medical examination (sometimes referred to as an IME). The idea of a required medical exam can produce some anxiety, especially when your relief may hinge on the physician finding the same injuries you are claiming. To prepare properly, here is a checklist to get ready for your independent medical exam:
Make a Good Impression
Remember, the physician evaluating you may have been chosen by the defendant of your claim or by an insurance company. Arrive early to fill out required forms or documentation (at least 15 minutes or so), and be polite. Ensure you are appropriately dressed, clean, and groomed. Do not make comments regarding the length of the exam, maintain a positive demeanor, and remember – the doctor may be recording you.
Avoid Minimizing Your Injuries or Illness
For some individuals, admitting that daily activities have become difficult, that they are in pain, or that they have been deeply affected by their injury or illness can be tough. There can be a strong instinct to make statements that something is “not that bad”. But doing so can jeopardize the chances of receiving relief later. Also avoid wearing clothing inconsistent with your injury to the examination (for instance, wearing running attire while claiming a knee injury).
Do Not Lie or Exaggerate
Doctors who perform independent medical examinations have seen all types of exaggeration and falsities regarding individuals’ conditions, and do not respond favorably to them. Jumping or grimacing through every step of the exam or steadfastly refusing to admit an ability to perform activities that they actually can perform can sink a claimant’s case, and the truth about individuals’ injuries will come to light later and hurt their credibility.
Be Familiar with Your Medical Condition and History
The physician performing the independent medical examination will likely ask a series of questions aimed at establishing your current complaints, determining what activities aggravate your condition or you can no longer perform, and what treatments you have received and whether they worked. Being able to explain this information quickly and accurately will be important.
Take the Right Steps Afterwards
It is not all that uncommon for individuals to dispute the findings of an independent medical examination afterwards, and having an accurate recollection of what occurred can be very important. After your examination, write down as much as you can remember about the process, including what the doctor said, your answers, the details of any tests performed, the time you arrived, the time you entered the exam room, and when the doctor entered and left the room. You may ask before the exam if you can record the examination, but your request will likely be denied.
Preparing for an independent medical examination? At Barbas, Nunez, Sanders, Butler & Hovsepian, Lawyers and Counselors at Law, experienced Tampa personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers are available to answer your questions. Call toll-free at 1 (800) 227-2275 for a consultation today.