When you’re injured on the job, you have to find a way to pay for your medical treatment while covering the wages that you’ll lose by being knocked out of work. Without those resources, you might be in a dire financial predicament where you’re unable to pay your rent or mortgage, keep up with auto loan payments, keep the utilities on, and even put food on the table. Although that’s a scary prospect, you might be able to find financial relief through the workers’ compensation program.
The workers’ compensation process can be fraught with intricacies, many of which are difficult to maneuver. One of those aspects is the independent medical examination.
What is the independent medical examination?
Under California law, your employer’s insurance company has the ability to require you to be examined by an independent medical professional of their choosing prior to paying out workers’ compensation benefits.
This can feel onerous if you’ve already seen multiple doctors for treatment of your condition, but you’ll have to comply with the insurance company’s request if you want to recover the benefits you deserve.
The purpose of this examination, of course, is to determine if your injuries are severe enough to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, and, if so, how much workers’ compensation you should receive. Therefore, before you head into your independent medical examination, you’ll want to be as prepared as possible.
How can you prepare for an independent medical examination?
Remember, you’re going to be under the microscope when you undergo an independent medical examination. To prepare for that, you should do each of the following:
- Have someone attend with you: The results of this examination could make or break your workers’ compensation claim. Therefore, it’s a good idea to have someone there with you who can help you talk about your injuries and how they impact your daily living and work. This individual can also help you take notes during the examination.
- See your doctor on the same day: There’s a chance that the opinion of the independent medical examiner will differ from that of your doctor. By seeing both on the same day, you can secure opinions based on the exact same condition. This might give you more ammunition with which to argue during the claims process.
- Be careful with your actions and your words: The independent medical examiner is going to assess you from the moment you walk in the door. So, make sure that your actions align with the severity of your injuries, and don’t say anything that might jeopardize your claim, such as minimizing the impact your injuries have on your ability to work or taking the blame for your accident injuries.
- Refrain from exaggerating your injuries: The independent medical examiner is going to pick up on any exaggerations that you make, which can throw the rest of your claims into doubt. So, stick to the facts. You don’t have anything to hide in your case.
- Be aware that you might’ve been under surveillance: Sometimes insurance companies check social media or even follow injured workers around to try to catch them acting in ways that don’t align with their injuries. Keep that in mind as you meet with the independent medical examiner so that you’re not presenting in an inconsistent fashion.
Build the strong workers’ compensation claim you deserve
There are a lot of moving pieces to a workers’ compensation claim, and you need to adequately address all of them if you want to maximize your chances of recovering the benefits you’re owed. If you’d like to learn more about how to do that, then please continue to educate yourself on the process and secure any help that might need along the way.