If you browse our site you will see quite a few posts where we talk about surveillance in workcover cases. Even if you have a deemed serious, long term injury, don’t be surprised if a private detective is following you around.But did you know that some IMEs also spy on the injured workers who visit them?
Some IMEs also undertake surveillance – watch out!
Recently I was discussing a “general surgeon” IME that many workcover insurance companies use for independent medical examinations (IMEs). He gets a hell of a lot of business because he is obviously more likely to tell the workcover insurance company what they want to hear rather than what you (the injured worker) want them to hear. But he also gets a lot of business because he is, apparently, “very thorough”.
This (and many) IMEs or his staff (e.g receptionist) will watch you as you are walking in to his building and will also watch you when you leave his office. For example, if you are walking normally in the parking lot, but limping or using a cane and wincing in his office, his IME report will say that you are full of it and malingering, and this will hurt your case big time. He will also often leave the exam room for a few minutes, but rest assured he is watching what you are doing and how, for example, you undress, hold your injured limb, hop on the exam table etc. Some even deliberately drop something from their desk or pocket… just to see how you’ll pick it up!
In fact, most IME doctors also perform “truth tests” of some sort (for example the Waddell tests), they just don’t tell you that they are doing it. Many injured workers are surprised when they see comments about this in the reports that the IME doctors write. But you have to remember, they aren’t your doctor, they are the doctor for the workcover insurance company.
So being honest is the key point. There is no reason to embellish or exaggerate your symptoms for a doctor or anyone else for that matter. Doctors, incl IMEs are trained and experienced at what they do. So are workcover insurance companies and the lawyers that they hire (along with the lawyer you hire of course/hopefully). Point is that you can almost never fool them because there isn’t much that they haven’t seen. You are actually better served by not limping at all, or not using your walking stick, assuming that reflects your true health, than trying to show how hurt you really are.
It’s human nature to want doctors to believe you, more so in the context of our adversarial workcover system where you are just about always confronted with disbelief. But trying to influence them with anything other than the truth is a terrible idea that could potentially ruin your life. So if you do just one thing on your case, please just tell it like it is.
Obviously, most injured workers are honest and listen to their doctors, and any video they get on you will likely amount to nothing and won’t affect your case at all. Just be aware of the many sneaky ways you may be put under surveillance!