Orange County Attorney Tips for Handling
The Workers Comp Med Legal Evaluation –
In our previous article, our experienced Orange County workers comp attorneys explained what a “Medical/Legal Evaluation” by a “Qualified Medical Examiner” (QME) is. In this article, we discuss steps you can take to obtain the best results in a Medical/Legal Evaluation (or med-legal exam)
(1.) Never Miss a Workers Comp Med Legal Evaluation
Both the injured employee and/or the employer’s insurance company have the right to request Med Legal Evaluation. Once one is scheduled (by either party) the injured employee must attend. In some cases, the employee may even be required to attend more than one examination with the QME selected.
Med Legal Evaluations are Mandatory. Failure to attend a med legal evaluation appointment can delay your case by months, or more. Missing your med legal evaluation appointment, can also result in missed appointment fees be assessed against you. These missed appointment fees range from $250 to $500.00, and are taken out of your permanent disability.
Carefully plan and schedule your trip to the doctor’s office. Make sure you have directions, and allow enough time for traffic congestion and parking – especially if your appointment is in Los Angeles. Even if you aren’t feeling well, you need to attend. Rescheduling can take months – which will drastically delay you getting your benefits. Plan on arriving at least 30 minutes early. If you are late, your appointment can be cancelled.
(2.) Workers Comp Med Legal Evaluations: You May be Videoed
This means that in many cases doctors, their employees, or even insurance adjustors will be watching you from the time you enter the parking lot or the building. You may even be filmed as you enter and exit the building. The insurance company is looking for fraudulent or exaggerated claims, or any other way to deny your claim.
Your med legal evaluation may be compared to previous or future videotaping of your activities – with or often without – your knowledge. Make sure that what you tell the Doctor(s) coincides with your behaviors and activity.
(3.) Bring Your Xrays, MRIs & Medical Information to Your Workers Comp Med Legal Evaluation
If you have had x-rays or MRIs taken for your condition, bring them to your Med Legal Evaluation.
You will likely also be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your medical history. Be certain to be absolutely 100% accurate in the information you put down. If you were sent the questionnaire before your evaluation, make sure it is completely filled out before you get there. If possible, have your attorney review your questionnaire before you go to your appointment to ensure that you have not missed or misrepresented anything in a way that could hurt your case.
(4.) Avoid Taking Pain Meds before a Med Legal Evaluation
Many clients ask our workers’ comp attorneys if they should take their pain meds before the med legal examination. There is no set answer to this, as each type of injury is different. However, there are a couple things to consider.
- If your treating doctor has said never to skip a pain med dosage, then always take your meds.
- If you are driving yourself to the appointment, do not take pain meds while operating a vehicle.
- If your pain meds are only taken “as needed” you may wish to skip them before your med legal evaluation if possible. Pain meds can mask your symptoms – and cause the doctor not to accurately evaluate the pain you are in or the limitations in your range of motion.
(5.) Be Honest in a Workers Comp Med Legal Evaluation
The second part of the evaluation will involve a physical examination of the involved body part(s) by the QME doctor, including: standard range of motion tests, neurological testing, etc.
Always be straightforward and honest. Your credibility is very important with the QME, so do not exaggerate your pain or your symptoms. If you describe your pain as a “10” under every circumstance, the Doctor may begin to not believe you at all. The QME sees hundreds of patients every week – he or she will not only be on the lookout for exaggeration but will be very adept at spotting it.
Clearly explain to the doctor how your injury significantly affects your activities. If you have problems with walking, standing, sitting, driving, engaging in sex, manipulating objects, or performing other daily functions, let the doctor know. Be specific – and do not be embarrassed or “act tough”. The QME doctor needs to evaluate how the injury affects your daily life. But be very accurate, because you could be videotaped at another time to try and refute your statements.
Orange County Attorneys Can Help With
Workers Comp Med Legal Evaluations
If you are facing a med legal evaluation, it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced workers’ comp attorney about your case beforehand. An experienced workers’ comp attorney can help make sure that you bring or provide the proper medical documentation. The attorney can also help you plan what you need to say to the QME doctor, so that you do not forget anything important.
If you are facing a Med Legal Evaluation, call our experienced Orange County Workers Comp Attorneys for a free consultation today. Our Workers’ Comp attorneys have helped hundreds of Orange County residents through the med legal evaluation process and get the workers comp benefits they deserve.
Call our Orange County Workers Comp Attorneys for a
FREE CONSULTATION: 562-622-4800.