After the worker has been injured in a workplace accident, it is not unusual for the insurance company to have him or her examined by a physician of their choosing. This right is set out in Section 12 of the Illinois Worker’s Compensation Act. Sufficient notice as to the time and place must be given to the worker, along with sufficient money to defray the costs to the worker for attending the examination. These costs are usually only mileage which must be paid to the injured workers prior to the examination.
It is not unusual for this examination to be set in either the Chicago or St. Louis region. We cannot prevent this from occurring, absent extraordinary circumstances. If an overnight stay is necessary, the insurance company will be responsible for the costs. You should inform your attorney about the necessity for you spending the night so your attorney may discuss it with the insurance company and receive assurances that you will be reimbursed.
Failure to attend the independent medical examination will only delay any possible hearing and resolution of your claim.
Prior to your examination, you should review any records you have to refresh your recollection as to the accident and any medical treatment that you have had to date. The job activities that you perform at work should be written down in detail and, if possible, look at any job description provided by the employer. When you see the doctor you should explain why the job description provided by the employer is not accurate, especially if it downplays the physical activities required of you to perform your job.
You should also discuss the pending examination with your attorney to be advised of the tactics the doctor may use to undermine your claim.
At the examination, listen carefully to what is asked and answered any questions once you fully understand it. If you are confused, asked the doctor to repeat the question. Do not volunteer more information than required when responding to the question.
If you have had a prior injury and to the same part of your body being examined, tell the doctor, if asked, about that injury and inform the doctor that injury had healed or, if not, how the new accident made that condition worse. You need to keep in mind that this doctor is not your friend nor treating physician. The sole purpose, most the time, is to help the insurance company defend against your claim. Also, be leery, when asked about specific past activities as the insurance company may have had you on surveillance and they will attempt to have your credibility impeached by having you asked about that activity hoping that you will deny that you performed that activity.
After the examination, you should contact your attorney and discuss the type of questions asked as well as the examination itself. Following the examination, a report will be sent to your attorney who will send it to you for further discussion.
The most important thing to remember is to be truthful as any lies or exaggeration will be brought out at hearing and will only harm your case