You might think that you’ll easily secure workers’ compensation benefits if you’ve been injured on the job. But that isn’t necessarily the case. Many workers’ compensation claims are denied, and for various reasons. Chief amongst them is a lack of medical evidence, which is oftentimes an issue that’s brought up during or after the independent medical examination.
What is an independent medical examination?
Before an insurance company will grant your request for workers’ compensation benefits, they’ll want to you be examined by a neutral third-party doctor. The hope here is that an unbiased opinion on the nature and extent of your injuries can be obtained so that a more accurate determination can be made on your workers’ compensation claim.
Are there issues with the independent medical examination?
Absolutely! Although these independent examiners are portrayed as “neutral,” they’re typically contracted with the insurance companies, so they have a financial incentive to give opinions that favor the insurance company.
Additionally, the insurance company will only request an independent medical examination when it disagrees with your doctor’s opinion on your doctor’s prescribed course of treatment or your disability rating. So, through the independent medical examination process, the insurance company is looking for evidence it can use against you.
How can you protect yourself during an independent medical examination?
To retain the viability of your claim during this process, you should do the following:
- Avoid exaggerating or minimizing your pain or limitations.
- Act in accordance with the severity of your injuries.
- Be prepared to address pre-existing conditions by specifying new symptoms that have arisen since your workplace accident.
- Bring someone with you to exam so that you have a witness who can testify as to what was said.
There’s more that you might be able to do to protect your interests during the independent medical examination. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with the process and discuss your concerns with your attorney.