Medical Exams & Missouri Workers’ Comp Claims
The Importance of a Medical Exam
A medical exam for a workers compensation claim is very different from a routine physical check-up at the doctor’s office. When you are in personal injury litigation and claim to have suffered an injury or illness on the job either as a result of an accident or exposure to certain chemical substances, your employer’s defense attorneys will seek evidence to challenge your claim.
What is an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?
Especially in personal injury or workers compensation cases in Missouri, the defense will try to obtain what is known as an “Independent Medical Examination” or IME. Defense attorneys will sometimes make the plaintiff undergo more than one IME where several health conditions are at issue. The defense will attempt to conduct this exam performed by its own specialists.
That is why it is very important for you as the plaintiff in a workers compensation case to have an experienced St. Louis workers compensation attorney on your side, one who will look out for your legal rights and make sure your interests are protected. An IME is often scheduled at the agreement of both parties. In most cases, if the plaintiff does not agree to such an exam, the defense will try to obtain a court order mandating the plaintiff to take the exam.
Tips for Your IME
Typically, the plaintiff will get a letter from the defense indicating the date of the exam, the name of the doctor performing the exam and any request for medical records you should bring with you. We would suggest that you be cooperative with the doctor who is performing the exam and provide the records they request of you. Here are some pointers for the IME:
- Be cooperative, honest and polite during the exam
- Openly communicate all information that is relevant to your injury or illness
- Relax and think of it as a visit to the doctor’s office
- Don’t be late, in fact, arrive earlier. You don’t want to make a bad impression
You can expect to be interviewed by the doctor about the accident details and your medical history. The doctor will look for signs and symptoms consistent with the injury or illness you claim as well as signs of deception or any other red flags that may go up. The doctor may also use certain tests such as x-rays and ECGs or other subjective tests to determine the extent of your injury or illness and how it manifests itself.
Communicating with your workers comp lawyer before your appointment is also very important. Your attorney may have important pointers or advice that is relevant to your particular condition. Your attorney may also be able to advice you not to subject yourself to certain tests or procedures which are not appropriate to the IME. The doctor also should not ask you other irrelevant or inappropriate questions such as what you talked to your workers’ compensation lawyer about, the status of the settlement negotiations or how much you believe you should get for your injuries. The main goal of the IME of course is not to give you a second opinion on your condition, but to obtain information for the litigation.
Finally, remember that the doctor or doctors conducting your IME are paid by the defense. Don’t expect his or her report to be fair and objective. Many IME doctors are known to skew their reports in favor of the defense. Don’t worry about what an IME doctor has to say about your health. Trust the opinion of the doctors who are treating you. They have your best interest in mind.
Page Law Gets The Results You Deserve
If you or a loved one is dealing with a workers compensation claim, call Page Law for a free consultation with a St. Louis work injury attorney. We will help you and guide you through the process including going through an Independent Medical Exam. We do not charge any fees until we actually make a recovery for you. All consultations are free and confidential.
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