Dos and Don’ts for the Insurance Company’s Independent Medical Examination
As we explained last week, Ohio law permits an insurance company to force you to submit to a medical examination by a doctor they have hired to diminish the nature of your injuries. Today, we have some Dos and Don’ts to help turn the tables in your favor:
- Be honest and cooperate with the examining doctor.
- Be polite, pleasant and courteous with the doctor and staff, but remember that this examination is a serious matter.
- Give the doctor a brief, accurate history on how your injury occurred.
- If the doctor asks you about any previous injuries or illness, be honest and tell him/her about any previous injuries or illness you have had, and what treatment you had for those conditions.
- If you are unable to perform any activity because of your injuries, tell the doctor about what it is you cannot do and why.
- If you are unable to work because of your injuries, tell the doctor that and explain that you would return to work immediately if you could.
- Ask the doctor to forward a copy of his report to your primary care doctor and any other doctors who are treating you for your injuries (he/she will probably deny this request, but ask anyways).
- Don’t fill out any paperwork or intake sheet when you arrive for your appointment. You are not required to do so under Ohio law.
- Don’t lie to the doctor. This WILL undermine your entire case.
- Don’t exaggerate your condition or symptoms. Don’t moan, groan, wince, or whine every time the doctor touches you.
- Don’t try to outsmart the doctor, you cannot do it. These doctors have performed hundreds or thousands of these exams, and have seen every trick in the book.
- Be clean and appropriately dressed. If you come to the examination looking like you just got done doing yard work or working on a car, this will be noted in the examination report.
- Do NOT wear high heels or any type of raised shoe to the appointment.
- Don’t jump on and off the exam table
- Remember that the “exam” is not over until you are completely gone from premises. Don’t run to your car, don’t horseplay in the parking lot, don’t jump down the stairs, etc., while leaving the examination.
- Don’t use medical jargon or terminology when describing your symptoms. It makes it looked like you were coached or prepared in what to say.
- If you have a neck injury, don’t jerk your head back and forth following the doctor around the room. He is trying to see if you are able to follow him quickly.
- Don’t talk about your case, your lawyers, the other lawyers, the other party, etc. He/She doesn’t need that information.
- Don’t talk about anything but your injuries and symptoms, and how they affect your activities of daily living. This is a physical examination. The doctor does not need to know about your family, your education, your work history, etc.
- Don’t ask the doctor for pain medication.
- Don’t volunteer any information. Answer the questions from the doctor with brief, accurate responses.
If you follow these simple guidelines, your Insurance Medical Examination will go smoothly and diminish the insurance company’s chances of hurting your case.
The information contained in this blog post is general information, and should not be treated as legal advice. No attorney/client relationship exists between the reader and Lafferty, Gallagher & Scott, LLC without a signed Attorney Contract Agreement of Representation. Each case is unique and past results should not be treated as a guarantee of the results in your case.