05 Mar Coping with Employer’s Insurance Company Doctors
When you are injured on the job and file a claim with your employer, you will be set up with an evaluation appointment by the workers’ compensation doctor, agreed upon by the company’s insurance group. During the evaluation, the doctor will use a checklist that shows what part of you has been injured, so the workers’ compensation company can figure out what claim benefits you will get while laid off, whether temporarily or permanently.
Attending the Independent Medical Examination (IME)
You must attend the appointment to get the benefits you need, regardless of whether you have your own doctor that you regularly visit under personal medical insurance. Your personal doctor, or a hospital’s doctor, may take x-rays, an MRI, or a host of other tests while you are in a hospital after an injury, and the workers’ compensation doctor will be given those documents as a starting point for the evaluation.
You do not give the doctor these documents. The insurance company makes a formal request from the personal or hospital doctor to get all the records. You merely give the insurance company permission to access copies of any information that is there.
The workers’ compensation evaluation doctor is there simply to evaluate your injury(s), to discuss your injury and the accident with you, including what your pain threshold is (between 1 and 10, with 10 being the highest amount of ongoing pain), and write up the evaluation report.
Typically, during your examination, there will also be a workers’ compensation nurse in the room, to oversee and listen to everything that happens. The nurse makes his or her own evaluation, based on what is seen and heard during that evaluation. In most cases, you will not have any interaction with the nurse.
Your Role in the Evaluation
Be polite, respectful, and pleasant, and obey the orders the doctor requests of you, including the request to take off your clothes so the doctor can check your injury. You will be asked questions about mobility, such as how difficult it is to get around your home, whether you currently use a cane or a walker, and other questions about your living environment.
It is helpful for you that you think through any questions you believe the doctor will answer of you so that you are clear and truthful about what occurred in the accident and the difficulties and pain you are suffering from your injuries. Stick to the questions the doctor asks of you and the circumstances of your accident and injuries. The doctor, as employed by the company’s insurance group, is doing a job and does not care about anything else.
You may hate the idea that you cannot get around on your own very well right now. However, when you attend the evaluation, have a friend drive you to and from the appointment. If you need a cane, use it. After the evaluation, be mindful that you may be watched as you go back to your friend’s car, to see how mobile you really are.
Call us at once if you need help with your worker’s compensation claim. 602-346-9195