Dos and Don’ts: Independent Medical Evaluation
November 3, 2020
Hello and welcome back to Legal Tip Tuesday. Your host today is Vince Quatrini from the law firm of QuatriniRafferty. Today I want to talk to you about what is euphemism in our world called an independent medical evaluation. It’s an examination of our client who is injured or disabled and has been scheduled by the workers’ comp insurance company. They picked the doctor. That doctor writes a report for them.
They call it independent. We call it consultative since it’s anything but independent. Here’s some pointers we’d like you to think about if you ever have to go to one. We tell all of our clients this, but I want to share it with you generally today. It’s called do’s and don’ts. So, here’s a do: show up on time and be ready for the evaluation. You may have to wait. Be aware of the doctor and everything around you. Some carriers will send a surveillance team to have you surveillance during this exam or before or after it. Be aware of your surroundings. Describe how the accident happened in detail. Don’t add anything, do not exaggerate. Remember what you said before, you may not intentionally misstate, but leaving things out might show up wrong in the report.
Make sure you’re telling this doctor the same thing that you’ve told everybody all along. The charges for this exam are to be sent to the insurance company. You have no responsibility. The doctor, we allow them to do an X ray. Under our do nots, we do not allow them to do nerve studies or any invasive procedures, so we tell our clients to politely decline. We also politely decline to bring MRIs and other studies to that exam. It’s the function of the workers’ comp carrier to go out and get that information, not yours. You’re already nervous enough having to go through this.
Don’t expect this doctor to give you a diagnosis or give you a treatment plan, that’s not their job. So, you will be disappointed. You will probably only spend about 5 minutes with this physician, walking out shaking your head. But, be frank, don’t exaggerate either, and try to connect with the doctor, but don’t get chatty. I don’t want comments getting into a report that you haven’t thought about that might be used against you. We tell you too, that when you leave there record everything that’s happened. So, it’s fresh in your mind and then we get that back from you so that we can prepare when we have to cross examine this doctor.
So, in summary, this is a time that you’re going to be in the hands of a doctor who’s been hired by the insurance company. Don’t get upset. Don’t talk back. Don’t get into a fuss with the doctor, just be yourself. Let them hear the story of what you’re going through as a result of this work injury or this disability. So, other pointers: you’re always welcome to call the office, but when we send this out, use them for that day so that you can try to get some measure of stress relief when you go through that day with that doctor. So, until next time, that isn’t an independent medical evaluation, but it is a necessary evaluation in your workers’ comp case. This is Vince Quatrini from QuatriniRafferty and Legal Tip Tuesday, have a great day.