If you are injured or fall ill on the job, there are a few important points to keep in mind when meeting with the workers’ compensation doctor. Do not:
- Speak negatively about your employer
- Exaggerate your symptoms
- Lie or omit details about what happened
Most employees have to visit a doctor approved by the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission (SCWCC) before receiving funds to cover medical expenses. These doctors may ask you a lot of questions during the appointment.
It’s essential that you review what not to say to a workers’ compensation doctor before your appointment. Saying the wrong thing could negatively impact your claim.
Understanding the Role of an S.C. Workers’ Compensation Doctor
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), an estimated 2.1 million private industry workers sustained a non-fatal on-the-job injury in 2020. If you get injured on the job, you have a chance to seek compensation through the workers’ compensation program.
Before discussing what you should say (or not say) to the workers’ compensation doctor, you need to understand the role of these physicians. These doctors perform independent medical exams (IMEs) after you get hurt on the job.
What Happens at an IME
You will go in for an IME if your employer requests an assessment. During the IME, the doctor will try and determine:
- If you got hurt on the job
- If you need medical treatment
- If you can go back to work
- If the injury will cause a disability
Some employees only need to go to one IME, while others go to multiple appointments. The doctor assesses your claim during the meeting. Their determination may influence whether or not you receive compensation.
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Do Not Exaggerate When Speaking with an S.C Worker’s Compensation Doctor
During your IME appointment, the doctor will ask you several questions. Ensure that you do not exaggerate the symptoms you experience during this exam. Try to be very honest about how you feel.
Doctors take steps to confirm all your symptoms during these appointments. If they find evidence that contradicts your claims, it can negatively impact your credibility and your workers’ compensation claim.
Do Not Say Anything Negative About Your Employer
You most likely feel frustrated after an on-the-job accident. It’s natural to feel confused or even angry at your employer for allowing unsafe conditions to develop on the job site.
However, sharing these feelings at your IME appointment may make the doctor less likely to take your claim seriously. Stick to the facts about what happened during your accident and your physical condition.
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Do Not Omit Details or Lie
It is also important not to lie or embellish what happened during your IME appointment. You want to include all details about the accident that caused your injury, even if you feel embarrassed about how it happened.
You may need to share information about prior injuries during an IME meeting. You may want to consult with a workers’ compensation lawyer who understands your situation before your IME appointment to feel more confident about what to say.
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What Questions Do Workers’ Compensation Investigators Ask?
Understanding the questions you might face at an IME appointment can help you prepare for this meeting.
A law firm familiar with pursuing workers’ compensation claims can provide specific examples of questions you may face about your accident or illness. Typically, workers’ compensation doctors often ask:
- If you have any pre-existing conditions
- If you experienced symptoms before your accident
- If your pre-existing symptoms got worse after your accident
They may ask if your injury impacted your day-to-day life or if you’re having trouble carrying out daily activities, like getting dressed, eating, or brushing your teeth. They will also inquire if you sustained a permanent disability following the accident.
Steps to Prepare for an IME Appointment
You can take several steps to improve your odds of securing a positive outcome for your IME appointment.
It’s a good idea to show up early. Most patients need around 30 minutes to fill out all the paperwork at a doctor’s office. It’s a good idea to approach the meeting with knowledge of your medical history.
Maintain a courteous attitude throughout your appointment. The doctor will need to thoroughly examine your on-the-job injury.
Our Team Helps Clients Get the Workers’ Compensation They Need
You can learn more about preparing for the appointment by speaking with one of our supportive legal team members. Clients of the Hammack Law Firm called a member of our team “the kindest spirit I could ask for.” You can read more testimonials to better understand how our firm treats our clients.
Get Help with a Workers’ Compensation Claim in South Carolina
To find out what not to say to a workers’ compensation doctor, contact the Hammack Law Firm. Our team helps clients in and around Greenville, SC. Your free consultation is waiting when you call (864) 326-3333.
We provide compassionate care as we take steps to help you secure compensation.