So, you have a QME/AME scheduled, you might be wondering what is this, if you need to prepare for it and what do you have to do.
A Qualified Medical Examiner (QME) and an Agreed Medical Examiner (AME) are doctors who will provide a Medical-Legal evaluation for your work comp claim. The difference between these is basically between the defense and applicant parties agreeing (AME) or not (QME) with one specific doctor.
What do I say to the AME/QME during my evaluation?
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Planning Before the Appointment:
It has likely been some time since your injury, so it is a good idea to refresh your memory. Write out a list of all body parts affected by your work-related injury. Not only body parts which hurt now, but anything which has been affected since the injury. Some often overlooked side-effects include stomach aches, sleep loss, difficulty with sex, or anxiety and depression. All of these could be related to your injury, so if you are suffering add these to your list.
Now, review your list and determine how each part hurts or has been bothered by your work injury. For example, if you have a shoulder injury, does your shoulder hurt all the time? Does it only hurt when you move it a certain way? How has the injury affected your daily living? What level is the pain on a scale of 1-10. What makes it worse? Think about this for each affected body part.
At the Appointment:
This appointment is about you. The doctor will likely ask questions about your condition and what is bothering you. However, you can not sit back and wait for the QME to ask you. By being prepared, you know what is bothering you. Make it a point to communicate to your doctor everything on your list.
Be specific! If you tell the doctor your shoulder hurts, this is all the QME has to go on. However if you tell the doctor, "My shoulder hurts when I raise it above my chest. It is usually a 4 out 10, but when I lift anything it goes up to a 8. I had surgery 9 months ago, and since the surgery, I am now able to touch my head. The heaviest thing I can lift is a gallon of milk. When the pain goes over a 6 I take a Norco to bring back down the pain. Because of the pain in my shoulder I can't sleep. The pain is too much when I try to lay down. It has messed up my sleep patterns." The QME now has plenty of information to follow up on and really understand your injury.
Be assertive! Make sure you cover all the body parts, internal injuries, and side-effects you listed prior to your appointment. This means you have to feed the information to the doctor. Don't wait for the QME to address your issues.
The QME/ AME will only know what bothers you and why if you explain it to them. Often, they will not ask all the right questions, or know all the details of your injury if you don't tell them. Attorney's can send letters, but YOU are your best advocate for informing the QME/AME on what ails you. By being prepared, having the information handy, and pushing your agenda at the appointment you will have a more favorable QME/ AME report because the doctor will be armed with all the information he needs to make his report.
If you have been assigned a panel QME, have an upcoming appointment, or have already seen a QME and have questions about your work-related injury, please contact our office for a FREE consultation. We will advise you of the rights and benefits available to you and answer any questions you have about a QME.
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