In order to collect workers’ compensation benefits in Minnesota, you need to be evaluated by a medical professional to ensure that injuries exist and to understand the severity of these injuries. You have the right to choose a provider of your choice for this medical evaluation, but it’s also important that you’re aware of how to approach this exam in order to increase your likelihood of receiving compensation. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at how you’ll want to talk to your doctor during the independent medical evaluation in order to help increase your likelihood of a successful injury claim.
How To Ace Your Independent Medical Exam
The best piece of advice that we can give is to be completely honest with your doctor. Don’t lie and overstate your injuries or hide the true nature of how they occurred. If it comes out that you are lying or that you told a half-truth, it can tank your claim. So while we want to help make sure everything goes smoothly with your IME, our single best piece of advice is to tell the truth.
Also, be sure to tell the whole truth about the extent of your injuries. Your neck may be the area that hurts the most, but if you’re also dealing with nerve discomfort in your arms or the injury is affecting your gait, be sure to tell your doctor about all of your symptoms. Some of these injuries will become evident during the physical exam, but other symptoms and conditions are not as readily diagnosed. If you’re experiencing things like headaches, anxiety, fatigue, sensitivity to light or dizziness and you believe these symptoms may be tied to your work injury, bring them up to your physician.
During the course of your evaluation, your doctor will likely ask you about your pain severity. Oftentimes this is done by asking you to rate your pain on a scale from 1-10. Don’t assume that you’ll get the most money for your claim by answering 9-10. Again, answer honestly, and keep in mind that this isn’t the only time you’ll be asked about your pain. Your doctor will want to understand how your body is responding to treatment or if symptoms are getting worse. If you tell your provider that your pain is a 10 and then symptoms get worse, they won’t really have a good gauge for how your body is recovering. Ask for clarification on the pain scale if you have questions about rating your discomfort appropriately.
Next, make sure that you clearly understand your restrictions and your doctor’s recommendations going forward and that you get these instructions in writing. This will only help to strengthen your claim. If your doctor says that you cannot return to work until you’ve been cleared during a follow up examination, or you can only work under specific light duty accommodations, get this in writing and follow their orders. These written instructions will go a long way in ensuring claim approval from your employer’s insurance provider, because a physician adds an immense amount of credibility to your claim.
Finally, make sure that you follow all of the restrictions put in place by your physician. If you don’t listen to your provider, the insurance company can argue that you are not acting in good faith, and they can deny your claim. If you have any issue with your medical report or your restrictions, you are well within your rights to seek out a second medical opinion. You can talk this over with your lawyer before proceeding, but don’t just go against your doctor’s orders because you don’t like what they have to say, because that can jeopardize your claim.
If you’re honest and forthcoming during your independent medical exam, we’re confident that you’ll be making it easier to get the compensation you’re rightly owed. If you have any questions about this process, or you just want to learn more about your compensation options, reach out to Dean and the team at Margolis Law Firm today at (952) 230-2700.