Preparing for Your Defense Medical Examination
The Workers’ Compensation[“WC”] insurance carrier has requested that you be examined by a doctor of their choice. This is misnamed as an “Independent” Medical Examination (“IME”). The doctor that you will see is NOT independent. Thus, we call it a Defense Medical Examination (“DME”).
The WC carrier has a right to have you participate in a DME. They may schedule a DME to get medical evidence about: (1) the “degree” or severity of your disability; (2) whether your injury is permanent; (3) whether any part of your permanent injury should be “apportioned” to a prior injury; (4) whether your work related injury is worse because of another medical condition (e.g., diabetes has made your leg injury worse); or (5) whether surgery or other requested medical treatment is necessary and appropriate. It is NOT unusual for their doctor to disagree with your doctor on some or all of these issues.
At the DME, their doctor will examine you and ask you questions concerning your past medical history, your present injury or condition and how you are feeling now. The DME is designed to help the WC insurance carrier defend against your case. The DME is NOT designed to provide you with medical treatment or advice. In fact, you can refuse medical advice from their doctor.
You have several rights as part of this process. To see a list of these rights, check out: http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/forms/ime5.pdf
The DME is a very important part of your case. We recommend the following:
Before the DME, gather your thoughts about your medical history, your present injury and any prior conditions (especially those that involve the area of the body you are making a claim about). Make a list of all your complaints and symptoms that are related to your claim. DO NOT discuss with this doctor any symptoms that are NOT related to your claim unless you are specifically asked.
You have the right to videotape or otherwise record the DME if you wish. You may bring a friend or family member to the DME. We recommend bringing someone and NOT videotaping or otherwise recording the DME.
Be on time and be polite with the doctor and staff at all times.
Only answer the exact question that is asked; do not volunteer ANY information.
When asked about your injuries, it is helpful to go head to toe, describing each and every injury and symptom.
When asked about your injury, do NOT go into detail; answer in general terms. The doctor needs to know what part of the body was injured and in a general way how it was hurt, but does not need details about the precise way that you were injured.
Do not exaggerate or fake your problems. This can only weaken your case. Do not be ashamed or embarrassed to tell the doctor exactly how you feel and hurt. Be honest and straight forward. The doctor and staff will be watching you the entire time you are in the office, not only when you are in the examining room.
If you experience any pain while in the examining room, be sure to tell the doctor about it.
DO NOT ask the doctor for advice.
If the doctor requests additional tests (blood work, x-rays, etc.), tell him or her that you have to discuss it with your attorney first.
Do not allow anyone other than the doctor you were scheduled to see examine you.
You and your witness should take notes during the examination. As soon as you and your witness get home, write a report about the examination and send it to us.
You may be asked to complete an information form and an authorization form which allows the doctor to examine you and report to the insurance company. You may complete these forms provided that: (1) you understand them; and (2) you provide truthful information.
If you have further questions, please contact us.