If you were injured at work and the worker's compensation insurance carrier is requiring you to have a mandatory independent medical examination before they will discuss a settlement, then these tips will help you navigate this appointment without hurting your legal case:
Tip: Be Honest and Polite at Your Appointment
When you arrive at the doctor's office for your independent medical examination, make sure you are on time and be polite when interacting with the office staff.
When it's time for your exam and the doctor comes into the room, make sure you are honest with them about your work injury as well as your past medical history.
In addition, it is vital you don't minimize or exaggerate your injury. The exam is to determine your current diagnosis and to predict your future medical needs. If you aren't honest with the doctor, then this can greatly hurt your chances of receiving a settlement at a future date.
Tip: Bring a Friend or Family Member to Your Appointment
When your worker's compensation medical examination appointment is scheduled, ask if you are permitted to bring someone to your appointment with you. If you are, then bring along a friend or relative as a witness to the appointment. This can be helpful if any questions arise in the future about the happening at the appointment.
If the doctor does not allow you to bring a witness, ask if they will allow you to record the appointment. If so, bring your cell phone and record the audio of the appointment.
Tip: Don't Talk to the Doctor About Your Employer, Attorney, or Your Legal Case
When you have an independent medical examination, the examining doctor isn't there to help you or hurt your case. They are "independent" and their purpose is to give a third-party medical opinion about your medical condition only. For this reason, you should not talk to the doctor about your case or anything your attorney has said to you. In addition, you should never talk badly about your employer because it could bias the doctor's report against you.
Tip: Consult with a Local Worker's Compensation Lawyer
If you have not yet met with a worker's compensation lawyer to consult about your case, then before your mandatory medical examination appointment is an ideal time to do so. At this meeting, your new attorney can give you specific advice to help you avoid saying or doing the wrong thing and potentially damaging your legal case.