7 Common Questions to Expect from an Independent Medical Examiner

An employer or their insurance company may hire an independent medical examiner (IME) to provide an opinion about whether an employee’s injury is work-related.

As anyone who’s been through a workers’ compensation claim knows, there’s often a lot riding on the independent medical examination. An employer or their insurance company may hire an independent medical examiner (IME) to provide an opinion about whether an employee’s injury is work-related and, if so, whether the employee can return to work. As a result, it’s important to be prepared for the IME and know what to expect.

male worker at a medical examination

Here are some of the most common questions that IME doctors will ask:

1. How Did You Injure Yourself?

Explain the circumstances surrounding your injury in as much detail as possible.

2. What Are Your Symptoms?

Be prepared to describe your symptoms, including when they started, how they’ve changed over time, and what makes them better or worse.

3. What Is Your Current Pain Level?

The doctor will likely ask you to rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the most severe pain imaginable. It’s important to be honest in your answer as this will be used to help determine the extent of your injuries.

4. Have You Been Treated for This Condition Before?

If you’ve seen other doctors for your condition, be prepared to provide information about those treatments. This includes both traditional medical treatments and alternative therapies such as chiropractic care or massage therapy.

5. What Is Your Current Medical Treatment?

Be sure to provide details about any medication you’re currently taking and any other treatments you’re receiving, such as physical or occupational therapy.

6. What Are Your Current Physical Limitations?

The doctor may want to know what you can and cannot do as a result of your injuries. This may include things like lifting, bending, sitting, standing, and walking. Be sure to give specific examples of activities that you can no longer do or that are more difficult to do due to your injuries.

7. How Do You Spend Your Day?

The doctor will want to know how you spend your day, both before and after your injury. This includes things like work, household chores, child care, and leisure activities. Be prepared to explain how your injury has impacted your ability to do these things.

These are just some of the questions you can expect from an IME doctor. Remember, it’s important to be prepared for your IME so that you can give the most accurate and complete information about your injury and its impact on your life.

At the same time, remember that insurance companies often hire these doctors to look for ways to deny or minimize benefits. That said, you should prepare well for your IME and know what to expect. Here are additional tips to help you through the process:

  • Be honest in your answers, and don’t try to downplay your symptoms. However, in the same light, don’t exaggerate your symptoms or try to make your injury sound worse than it is.
  • Be clear and concise in your answers. The doctor will likely have a lot of questions, so try to answer each one as directly as possible.
  • Take time to think about each question before you answer. You don’t have to provide an answer right away, and it’s better to take a few moments to consider your response than to give a rushed or inaccurate answer.
  • Ask for clarification if you don’t understand a question. Or, if the doctor uses medical jargon you don’t understand, ask them to explain it in simpler terms.
  • Don’t offer too much information. The doctor doesn’t need to know every detail about your life, so try to stick to the facts and provide only the relevant information about your injury.
  • Consider having a friend or family member accompany you to the IME. This person can take notes during the exam and provide support and assistance if needed.

St. Louis Workers Compensation Attorneys

Do you need assistance preparing for your IME? The experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at The Law Office of James. M. Hoffman can help. We can review your case for free and guide you throught what to expect from the IME process. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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Updated: August 8, 2022