When you apply for workers’ compensation benefits in New York, the insurance carrier may request that you undergo an independent medical examination (IME). Despite the name, the IME is seen as an opportunity for the insurance company to search for evidence that you are exaggerating or fabricating your claim for benefits. That said, if your claims are honest and described accurately in your claim form, you should have no reason to worry about your IME. Read on to learn about what to expect from and how to prepare for your IME.
What happens at an IME?
During an IME, a doctor hired by the workers’ compensation insurer will ask you questions about your injury and will perform various tests to assess whether you were being truthful in your claim for benefits. In fact, the doctor may ask you to perform certain tests multiple times to ensure that you perform it consistently each time. The doctor will ask you about the circumstances surrounding your injury, the way your injury has interfered with your lifestyle and hobbies, and the amount of pain you experience. You may also be asked to explain your job responsibilities, so that the doctor can assess whether you’re truly unable to do those tasks in your current condition. Unlike most visits with a doctor, the IME is not intended as an opportunity to provide you with medical care or prescriptions for medication, and you should not think of this physician as your personal doctor.
What should I do during my exam?
The most important thing to remember during your IME is to provide honest answers that are consistent with your previous descriptions of your injuries. Don’t exaggerate the extent of your injuries or amount of pain you’re in; simply be honest about what you’re experiencing. Be respectful toward the doctor and their staff. Give complete answers to the doctor’s questions, but don’t provide additional information that goes beyond the scope of the doctor’s question. If the doctor asks about any prior injuries, respond honestly. The IME isn’t a time to discuss the claim itself, so don’t ask the doctor about a settlement or payment of benefits. Your attorney will help you prepare so that you can feel confident when attending your medical exam.
If you’ve been injured on the job in New York and need help filing a claim for workers’ compensation or for disability retirement through the NYSLRS, contact the dedicated and seasoned Highland workplace injury attorney Peter M. Cordovano for a consultation, at 845-691-4200.