The examining “IME” doctor is hired by insurance company with interests adverse to yours. The examining doctor’s goal is to generate evidence helpful to an insurance company, not you. Take your time in answering questions. Think, then answer. Don’t answer any question you do not understand. Instead, if you don’t understand, say so. Ask the doctor to rephrase the question when needed. If you misspeak, correct immediately. Don’t be afraid to tell the doctor you can’t remember. Many times there is information in medical records that you have forgotten. You won’t want to answer one way only to have medical records reflect a different answer.
The IME doctor is watching you and documenting everything you do. Smile. IME Doctors are humans too who are more likely to see you in a positive light, if, well you are positive.
IME doctors are trained to recognize deceit and will document all suspicions in the IME report. Be open during the exam by providing straightforward answers. Make eye contact. Stay relaxed. Just tell the doctor the truth about your injuries and you have nothing to worry about. If you have ever smoked, for example, admit it.
Organize your thought. That way you can more fluidly present your medical history to the doctor. The doctor is most likely to ask you about:
- Your medical history;
- Prior injuries—especially to the same body part now injured ;
- The accident itself;
- How you became inured in the accident;
- Where you were injured;
- Your progression of symptoms since the accident;
- Treatment for your injuries;
- What worsens symptoms; What reduces symptoms;
- What you are unable to do since the accident; and
- How do you feel at exam time.
Don’t say what you don’t know
Assume the doctor has access to all your medical records because he probably does. The doctor will have reviewed your records or a summary of your records that include all of your medical visits, including chiropractic treatments, not just treatment related to your current injury or claim.
Admit what you don’t remember
The doctor may ask you questions you cannot remember. For example, the doctor may ask about a childhood accident or illness. Only answer to the extent you remember. Don’t guess.
Don’t be chatty
Don’t give a speech. Instead, simply answer questions directly then STOP. Information uncovered during the IME exam may be used against you later.
Goldie Locks lesson
The doctor will ask you to describe your pain. Pain is subjective and often difficult to explain. Consider describing your pain by referring to where you hurt and how the pain has affected your life. NEVER exaggerate injuries. Also NEVER understate pain. Be like Goldie Locks…. Just right. Remember, the IME doctor will be looking for inconsistencies in complaints compared to what he observes.
Keep track of the time the doctor spends actually examining you. Cooperate with his reasonable requests. Do not argue.
Post- exam notes
After the IME and a home, write your impressions of the exam. Note everything you can remember with special attention to who was there, what tests were conducted and the nature and length of the examination portion of the IME. More specifically, your notes should include:
- Scheduled appointment time;
- Time you arrives;
- Time in waiting room;
- Time IME doctor arrived in exam room;
- Length of interviewed;
- Who performed the exam;
- When you left doctors’ office;
- When you left clinic.
- What the doctor said;
- Your responses;
- What doctor may have dictated during IME;
- The tests and procedures IME doctor conducted;
- Anything strange or new to you;