If you’re injured on the job, protecting your legal rights may feel like it takes a back seat to medical appointments and the necessities of living with an injury. However, you can’t let your legal rights fall off the priority list. After you’re injured at work, you may face difficulty receiving the full workers’ compensation coverage you need to heal from your injuries and return to your usual life. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance, and an insurance company’s goal is to protect its bottom line – with the help of attorneys and other trained professionals if needed. You need a knowledgeable advocate on your side to protect your rights and ensure your needs are met. At the Kocian Law Group, we believe in leveling the playing field by providing thorough information and outstanding legal representation in every workers’ compensation case we handle.
No matter where you are in the workers’ compensation process, our experienced attorneys can help. We’ve handed thousands of workers’ compensation cases, and we’ve faced virtually every issue that arises after a worker is injured. Whether your injury is a minor bump or bruise or a catastrophic brain injury or amputation, Kocian Law Group attorneys can:
- Handle discussions with the insurance company;
- Fight to ensure you get necessary benefits and treatment on time;
- Prevent you from losing needed benefits due to an insurance company’s desire to save money;
- Ensure that you receive all the benefits due under workers’ compensation – even little-known benefits like penalty awards for late payments or payments to cover the mileage traveled to medical appointments;
- Fight for a fair award when scarring or other losses affect your life; and
- Advocate your rights in court when necessary, even in an emergency.
The Kocian Law Group understands workers’ compensation law, and we’re dedicated to making sure our clients understand it too. As a result, we provide representation with no up-front attorney’s fees and no charge for your initial consultation. You’ll only pay attorney’s fees in your case if we succeed in obtaining a judgment or settlement for you.
Independent Medical Examinations
In many workers’ compensation cases, insurance companies schedule what is called an “independent medical examination” or “IME.” The word “independent” is somewhat of a misnomer. An IME is an examination performed by a physician whom the insurance company hires for a specific purpose, such as to find that an injured worker needs no more treatment or that an injured worker can return to work full-time.
The term “independent” is used because the physician who performs the IME has no prior doctor-patient relationship with the injured worker. It does not guarantee that the physician is applying his or her independent medical judgment during the examination. In Connecticut some advocates have even recommended that these exams drop the term “independent” and use “respondent” instead, reflecting the fact that they’re called for by the employer – the “respondent” in a workers’ compensation contest – not by an independent or objective party.
Because no prior relationship exists between the injured worker and the physician, the IME physician has no obligation to the injured worker, including no obligation to provide an objective, reasoned medical evaluation. As a result, an IME physician may examine the injured worker as little as necessary to reach the conclusion the insurance company requested. Some IME physicians have even been known to use misleading questions to “trick” workers into admitting they are exaggerating their symptoms. A physician who treats a certain patient on a regular basis rarely resorts to such tactics, knowing that honesty and objectivity are required for a fair and accurate medical evaluation.
The insurance company has the right to ask for an IME as part of its attempts to contest your claim for workers’ compensation benefits. The IME physician knows from the moment he or she meets you that the appointment is only for IME purposes. The physician knows he or she is not responsible for any follow-up care, that the bill will be paid by the insurance carrier on the employer’s behalf, and that if a formal hearing is held on contested medical issues, the physician will generally be expected to testify on behalf of the employer since the employer chose him to perform the exam.
Contact the Connecticut Workers’ Compensation Attorneys at Kocian Law Group Today
Because insurance companies want to protect their bottom lines, an IME is nearly inevitable in a workers’ compensation claim. The Connecticut workers’ compensation attorneys at Kocian Law Group are experienced in dealing with such so-called “independent” examinations and can help you to use these inevitable examinations to your advantage. If you’re scheduled for an “independent” medical evaluation, contact the Kocian Law Group for a free and confidential consultation to learn more about your legal rights and ways to protect yourself during the exam.