After suffering a workplace injury, you should visit your primary physician. If you need to file a workers' comp claim, your physician's notes will serve as documentation of your injuries. Sometimes, however, an independent medical examination is also required. An IME is usually requested by your employer's insurance company to confirm your primary physician's diagnosis. In either case, what you say to your workers' comp doctor can make or break your claim. Your statements will make it into the doctor's notes that will be later assessed as part of your claim. Our Hollister workers' compensation attorneys outline common mistakes to avoid below.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Speaking With a Workers Comp Doctor
- Exaggerating your injuries. Your doctor needs to know the nature and extent of your injuries in order to treat them effectively. This cannot happen if you exaggerate, or even downplay, your condition. Further, if your doctor has doubts about the severity of your condition, they may not sign off on your workers' comp forms. Not only will an exaggeration affect the medical treatment you need, it may also seriously hurt your benefits claim. The best policy in this case should be honesty.
- Lying about or failing to disclose prior injuries. If you have a prior injury, you may worry that this will affect your claim. However, the worst thing you can do is hide or lie about this injury to your workers' comp doctor. You doctor will be able to find this information anyway, and it may come back to bite you later. Instead, being honest with your physician may actually strengthen your case. Your physician may be able to rule out a connection between your current and prior injury. Or, they may be able to document how your current injury worsened your prior condition.
- Providing inconsistent information. It is not uncommon for people to hurt their workers' compensation claims unintentionally. One way this happens is when people try to answer their doctor's questions without fully knowing the answers themselves. It is important to know that you do not have to guess or deduce the answers to your doctor's questions. If you do not know the answer, simply say so. Providing your best guess may result in inconsistent or inaccurate information that will later hurt your claim.