First, be on time; or better yet, be early. Being late could be interpreted as being disrespectful. You want the examining doctor to like you and you want them to write a medical report in your favor. The goal of the examination is having the examiner find the greatest degree of disability due to your work-related injury. It’s important to understand that the panel QME or AME is reporting for both the insurance company and for you, the injured worker. They try to be as unbiased as possible; nevertheless, what you do and say matters. Be honest. Be well-groomed. Be respectful.
At times, some doctors will exhibit less than a stellar bedside manner. If you feel they are not treating you with respect, such as ignoring what you say or talking down to you, it is better to roll with the punches than to retaliate in kind. Also, it is advised not to argue with the examiner. Remember that the doctor is the expert, not you. Your attorney may give you a form to fill out immediately after your QME that will reflect any perceived discrepancies.
The QME will ask you how your work injury occurred and the details of any medical treatment you have undergone from the day of your injury to the present. He will probably ask you about your complete medical history before your actual examination. It is important to remember that this doctor has medical records of any prior injuries so be forthcoming about any previous injuries. Any behavior or statements that conflict with your medical records will weaken your case. That said, if the examiner brings up an old injury, tell the truth. (Example: If the old injury in question has been treated and is no longer symptomatic for a considerable amount of time, it is important that they hear this from you).
During the examination, it is important to be honest in terms of expressing your pain levels and your symptoms. Do not exaggerate and, more importantly, do not minimize your symptoms either.
Activities of Daily Living: It is important to make sure they know about all daily activities that have been affected by your injury. Activities of daily living include shopping, driving, walking, bathing, taking a shower, doing the dishes, taking out the garbage, yard work, etc. It is better to say that you avoid doing certain activities because of the pain involved than to say you can’t or don’t do them anymore. If you use those words, all the insurance company needs is a film of you doing it one time and your case has been marginalized. It’s also important to note which activities you do with pain. (Example: picking up a small child)
After the examination, ask the doctor what treatment options are available and what would be their recommendation(s) for you.
IMPORTANT: The day of your Qualified Medical Examination is a convenient time to film injured workers. Your evaluation by a medical-legal evaluator can start the moment you step foot outside your door. Quite often, if an insurance company is going to take a surveillance film, they will do it on the day of the evaluation. They know you’re going to be out of your home that day and they know where you’re going and what time you will arrive. Another key point is when an injured worker enters the waiting room of the examiner’s office. The doctor’s support staff are watching you and will often report their impressions to the medical-legal evaluator.
In conclusion, if you have prepared for your examination, and executed the suggestions above to the best of your ability, upon leaving your Qualified Medical Examination, you should feel confident that your examiner will submit a report that will be the most favorable to your workers’ compensation case.
Prior to going in, be sure to read How To Prepare for Your Qualified Medical Examination (QME).
Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Insurance companies have attorneys working for them, and you should have competent legal representation too. Attorney Alice A. Strömbom focuses exclusively on Workers’ Compensation Law. She is very familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to avoid providing the medical treatment and disability benefits injured workers deserve, and has a recognized track record in combating such issues.
Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation. Injured workers will almost always get a better outcome with the assistance of an experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer.