A caller to my office told me that he was hurt at work and receiving benefits for a knee injury. His doctor wants to do surgery, but before the insurance company would approve it, they want him to see an IME (independent medical examination) doctor.
He’s heard stories about how many of these physicians are hired guns and is worried that he’s about to get screwed.
His concerns are valid. In fact, the other day I heard that one IME doctor was charging $11,000.00 for an IME!!! That’s an insane amount of money, especially when some of these exams take five minutes or less and the doctor doesn’t ask many questions. You can bet that this doctor doesn’t want to ruin the gravy train of money by telling the insurance company something they don’t want to hear.
So the very hyped up caller asked me, “How do I beat the IME Exam?”
As much as I believe that a lot of these doctors are hired guns, I would never suggest a client do anything dishonest or try to “beat” an IME. You have one thing in your favor in every good case; the truth.
So if you go to an IME (or trial) and embellish or say something that you think will help you win your case, you are probably setting yourself up to screw yourself. Arbitrators aren’t expecting every detail of your case to be perfect. You don’t need to be in crying pain 24/7 to show that you are injured. Just tell the truth.
The worst thing you can do at an IME beyond lying or embellishing is to be confrontational. I’ve seen cases where injured workers have yelled at the doctor or even tried to record the whole session and it’s just made them look crazy to the Arbitrator and insurance company.
So what can you do besides tell the truth? Here is what I suggest:
1. Be friendly.
2. Bring someone in to the room with you if they allow it.
3. When you get to your car after the exam, write down what your experience was.
So why these three things? If you are friendly and they know that your injury is really work related, they might be less inclined to find against you. If someone is in the room with you, they can corroborate at trial how long the exam lasted and can support you. If you write everything down (how long the exam lasted, what they asked you, what you told them, etc.) it will lend credibility to you if the doctor testifies he saw you for 30 minutes when you timed it at four minutes.
Are any of these suggestions home runs? No, but again, you shouldn’t try to beat the IME. It’s just one piece of a case and in most cases if you are credible and your doctor is credible, you will win. So trying to “beat” the IME can turn a good case in to a bad one.
These are things your attorney should be discussing with you. If they aren’t or if you don’t have one and want a free consultation, call us any time at 312-346-5578. We help all over Illinois.