Important Information About Medical Evidence in Your Florida Workers’ Compensation Case
As part of the bargain made between management and workers in Florida, Florida, workers’ compensation is considered no-fault insurance. While this is true, no-fault doesn’t necessarily mean that you will automatically be eligible for benefits. There are set eligibility rules that must be followed.
The workers’ compensation laws in Florida put strict time requirements on these cases. It’s also necessary for an injured worker to prove that their condition or injury was work-related.
One of the best ways to provide this proof is medical evidence. In some states, you can select your doctor after an on-the-job injury. However, this isn’t typically the case in the form of Florida. The company’s doctor’s medical report may or may not reflect your situation or what happened.
Because of this, hiring a Florida workers’ compensation lawyer is imperative. Your work injury lawyer will assess the independent medical examination and determine if it meets the evidentiary and legal thresholds. If needed, your attorney can request a supplemental medical report. In most cases, the additional exam and information will not cost anything initially.
The Independent Medical Exam
The Independent Medical Exam may be a comprehensive report or just a snapshot report. This depends on the company and the workers’ compensation insurance provider. There are more snapshot reports than comprehensive reports in many cases, which isn’t always good for you, the accident victim.
A doctor will typically create a snapshot report after the initial medical exam. This is generally based on the physical exam and the doctor’s assessment of the injury or illness and how it affects the accident victim’s day-to-day life. Also, the doctor is the one who will predict the outcome. Because of this, these broad and often life-changing conclusions won’t have very much of an evidentiary foundation.
The actual nature of this doctor-patient relationship will complicate the situation even more. The Independent Medical Exam doctor is not your (the victim) doctor. They examine the victim at the request of the insurance company. The relationship may also impact the communication between the doctor and patient. Most people are not completely honest and open with the IME doctor. Also, not all IME doctors listen to the injuries or issues a victim tells them about.
If a comprehensive report is provided, this is a little better. An IME doctor will prepare these reports based on the physical exam. They will also conduct diagnostic testing to evaluate a victim’s progress in physical therapy. While this is true, the same relationship-based communication issues are present.
Supplemental Medical Evidence
Additional medical evidence can mean several things. It could involve a second medical exam or an expert’s take on the current medical evidence. A case with a snapshot IME may require this additional medical exam. In most cases, the doctor will perform several different exams. The initial exam is essentially triage for the accident victim. An exam, later on, will determine if the victim has made progress in recovery and provide a more accurate prognosis.
The comprehensive IMC cases may require you to get a second opinion from another medical expert. In some cases, insurance company doctors aren’t highly qualified. The second doctor’s statement may alter the meaning of the report significantly.
Ensuring your lawyer has access to objective medical evidence is essential if you want to recover maximum benefits for your injuries and damages in a Florida workers’ compensation case.
Some of the benefits include medical bill payments and lost wage replacement. The medical evidence available will impact the wage replacement you receive. The more serious your injury or illness is, the more work you miss. Also, the benefit you receive for your medical bills is based on what medical evidence is gathered and presented.
Hire a Florida Workers’ Compensation Attorney for Help
Having access to objective medical evidence is essential to recover the maximum amount of compensation in a workers’ compensation claim. Because the requirements for medical evidence can be complex, it’s best to hire an attorney for help with your case and situation. Doing so will pay off and help ensure you are in an excellent position to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Being informed is the best way to ensure that you get the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to, no matter how or when the accident occurred.
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