When you have been hurt on the job, and have filed a workers’ compensation claim, it’s pretty common that the workers’ compensation insurance provider will require that you submit to a medical examination by a doctor chosen by the insurer. It’s important that you understand that you have a number of rights with respect to that examination, and it’s important that you know what they are.
When you receive the letter, it can be intimidating and confusing. The letter you receive, which will make reference to an “independent medical exam,” will typically ask you to appear for the examination and to bring a variety of documents or records. Contrary to what the letter suggests, though, the examination will be conducted by a doctor chosen and paid by the insurer, who has a vested interest in making conclusions and diagnoses that are favorable to the insurance company.
The letter you receive will indicate whether the doctor plans to videotape the examination. However, regardless of whether the doctor chooses to do so, you always have the right to videotape the exam—you can also audiotape the doctor’s appointment. In addition, there is no rule that requires you to notify the doctor in advance that you will be taping the proceedings. If the letter says you must, ignore it. If you appear for the examination and the doctor says you cannot videotape the exam, you should politely decline to go through the examination.
Why would you want to videotape a medical examination? Because, as we were able to do in a case we handled recently, you may be able to successfully have the insurance company doctor’s report ruled inadmissible, if it has no bearing on your injury or your claim.