IMEs can play a critical role in workers' comp claims
An independent medical exam sounds innocent enough, but when the insurance company requests one as a condition of workers' compensation benefits, the term becomes more sinister.
Under the New Jersey workers' compensation system, your employer's insurance provider can request that you get a medical examination from an "independent medical examiner" of their choosing. After a work injury, you likely have already seen multiple doctors for diagnosis and treatment. The insurance company's request may feel like a burden, but it's one you may have to endure.
If you have to have an IME as part of your workers' comp claim, you should prepare for it. Our law firm can help. Shebell & Shebell, LLC has been fighting for injured New Jersey workers' rights since 1927. We know how the law works and how to make it work in your favor. The following are some general tips and information about the IME workers' compensation process and how to get through it without hurting your claim.
How to prepare for an IME
No matter what the insurance company or their contractors tell you, an IME has nothing to do with helping you get better. This is an opportunity for the insurance company to find even the tiniest reason to shortchange or deny your workers' comp claim. Remember to be honest, be prepared, and be on the defense. Here are some things to consider:
- You are being judged as soon as you get there. The evaluation process starts as soon as you arrive at the doctor's office. The doctor will observe your movements, how you walk, and if you face any difficulty getting on the examination table. It's important not to exaggerate anything but to be aware that you are being evaluated throughout the process.
- This is not a truly "independent" medical exam. Don't forget: The insurance company is the one who requested this examination, and the doctor has been hired and paid by them to evaluate your injuries. They want to minimize your claim so that they can pay you less in workers' compensation benefits. So cooperate and answer the doctor's questions but avoid volunteering any information.
- You will be asked how your injury affects you and your pain levels. Discuss any activities you can no longer perform, at least without difficulty, and the pain you're currently experiencing, including when it occurs. Keeping a notebook to record your pain and limitations can be helpful.
- Relax. Tell the truth. Do not exaggerate. Be honest during the evaluation process. If the doctor asks about your pain level or current limitations, answer honestly. It's essential to avoid exaggerating your injuries, as the insurance company may hire private investigators to watch injured workers out in public. They are looking for evidence that workers are exaggerating their injuries. Telling the truth is always the best policy in these situations.
Get the benefits you deserve with help from a New Jersey workers' comp lawyer
Workers' compensation claims should be straightforward, but they often are not. The insurance companies that run workers' comp can make the process difficult by denying coverage of some treatments. They can also reject doctor-recommended treatments and underestimate lost wages to protect the company's bottom line.
Don't let your workers' compensation benefits be denied or delayed any longer. Take action now and fight back with the help of an experienced New Jersey workers' compensation attorney. We know how to build a strong case and present convincing arguments in front of workers' compensation judges, and we're ready to fight for you in court if necessary.
If you were injured in a workplace accident, don't hesitate. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you obtain the benefits you deserve. With offices in Shrewsbury and Newark, we offer legal representation to injured workers statewide.