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What Not to Say to Workers’ Comp Doctor

Businessperson with bandaged hand filling out form in medical office.

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you may be wondering what your options are. While you try to navigate finding treatment for your injuries, figuring out how to take time off, and unexpected financial losses from missing work, you may benefit from the advice and support of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Missouri workers’ compensation law offers pathways to remedy for workers who are injured in work-place accidents. The state’s Department of Labor has a workers’ compensation division that provides services to those who have been injured on the job or exposed to disease as a result of the circumstances of their occupation. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney may be able to help with your case. To have your specific questions answered, contact Steelman Gaunt Crowley at (573) 341.8336.

What Not To Say During an IME Exam 

An IME exam is an independent medical evaluation. This allows the insurance company that pays for your workers’ compensation benefits to gather more information about your injuries to help them determine what kind of compensation is appropriate for your case. 

There are several things that you should never say during an IME exam. Individuals undergoing an IME exam should bear in mind that it is important to give honest, truthful information about their injuries and the circumstances surrounding them. Falsifying information risks derailing the chance of reimbursement and compensation for your injuries. 

Never Give Inaccurate Medical History

During an IME exam, patients should be careful to answer the examining physician’s questions accurately and completely. Your doctor will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and current injuries to determine your current condition and the best recovery plan. Exaggerating the extent of injuries sustained in an accident can impede an accurate medical assessment and cast doubt upon your trustworthiness as you pursue your claim. 

Never Lie About Your Injuries or the Accident

Again, patients should not exaggerate about the extent of their injuries or the accident that caused them, including any factors that might have led you to be more than usually susceptible to an accident at the time you were injured. While exaggeration should be avoided, patients should be prepared to provide medical personnel with all relevant details. Omitting crucial facts about the accident and injuries may be considered deliberately misleading. The medical professional performing an IME will be assessing not only the patient’s injuries but the veracity of their account; they will be looking for injuries that fit the patient’s explanation of the incident, but will also be prepared to notice evidence that is inconsistent with the patient’s report. Lying to the doctor can call the entire claim into question.

Avoid Exaggerating Your Symptoms or Pain

An IME is not an occasion for embellishment. The examining doctor needs an accurate description of symptoms and pain so that they can properly diagnose an accident victim and develop a treatment plan. By exaggerating, patients run the risk of receiving treatment they do not need, which could cause further harm or injuries. Conversely, if a doctor becomes skeptical of a patient’s account, they may conclude that the patient is engaging in drug-seeking behaviors or otherwise attempting to take advantage of the system. Patients who find themselves in this position, innocently or not, face an uphill battle in accessing care.

Do Not Speak Negatively About Your Employer 

Your doctor will take thorough notes throughout the exam, so this is not the time to say anything negative about your employer. Their records will be reviewed by the workers’ compensation insurance company and their attorneys, so you do not want to say anything that may affect the outcome of your case. 

Does Workers Comp Pay for Time Off for Doctor’s Appointments? 

According to the Missouri Department of Insurance, workers’ compensation does not pay for time off for doctor’s appointments unless that time off is included in the days that they miss work for their injuries. Workers’ compensation pays for up to two-thirds of an employee’s average weekly wage after they miss more than three days of work. If the employee is off for longer than 14 days, the employee must be paid for the first three days of missed work. 

An employer instead may allow an employee to use accumulated time off including paid leave, medical leave, personal leave, or sick leave to attend doctor’s appointments. A Missouri attorney experienced in workers’ compensation law can help you understand your rights. 

What Happens at a QME Exam? 

A QME exam is a Qualified Medical Evaluation. This type of exam is conducted by a Qualified Medical Examiner selected by your employer’s insurance company with your own or your attorney’s corroboration. The doctor performing this exam will be certified by the Division of Workers’ Compensation Medical Unit.

During the examination they will ask you to list your injuries and the extent of them, list any secondary side effects, list how each injury has affected you, rate each injury on a pain scale, and give a detailed timeline of what happened between your injury and the day of your appointment. This doctor examines you and reviews your medical records to determine the extent of your injury. Then, they will decide if you have any permanent disabilities resulting from your work-related injury and what type of future medical care you may need. 

Can I Choose My Own Doctor for Workers’ Comp?

According to the Missouri Department of Labor, your employer or their insurance company has the right to choose the healthcare provider who sees you after your injury. If you choose your own doctor, you may be paying to see the physician at your own expense. 

In some circumstances, the employer and insurance company may allow you to choose your own doctor. Check your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy before seeking non-emergency treatment for your injuries. 

Get Help From a Missouri Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

If you have been injured in a work-related accident, consider seeking the help of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. With more than 50 years of combined experience, the workers’ compensation lawyers with Steelman Gaunt Crowley are well-versed in Missouri workers’ compensation law and can help you properly handle your claim. 

Contact our office at (573) 341.8336 today to learn more or to schedule your personalized consultation.