After your attorney files your psychological claim for the injury you sustained during your employment as a DBA security guard, what happens next? The defense attorney will schedule you to be examined by a psychologist or psychiatrist of their choosing. You’re probably wondering what to expect during the examination and what’s the purpose? This is the insurance company’s opportunity to have you examined by a doctor that they have hand-selected to determine the extent of your psychological injuries. This doctor is going to evaluate you and then write a report summarizing the results of the examination. Obviously, this report will have an impact on your case because a Judge will consider their IME doctor’s opinion when making a ruling on your case at trial. There are a few things to aware of in order to be prepared for your examination, but first understand this important nugget of information:
An administrative law judge (“ALJ”) has “the discretion to evaluate the credibility of a claimant and to arrive at an independent judgment, in light of medical findings and other evidence.” Pietrunti v. Dir OWCP, 119 F.3d 1035 (2d Cir. 1997). Additionally, an ALJ is not bound to believe or disbelieve the entirety of a witness’s testimony but may choose to believe only certain portions of the testimony. Mijangos v. Avondale Shipyards, Inc., 948 F.2d 941 (5th Cir. 1991).
There are several items that can impact a Claimant’s credibility and so the injured worker must remember:
- Testimony at trial or in deposition MUST BE consistent with past testimony or statements;
- Claimant must have actually seen or heard the events about which the Claimant has testified (corroborating evidence helps);
- Recalling events accurately (verify your dates before you speak);
- Description of events seems likely; and
- Don’t go into great detail about unrelated psychological issues such as “people say craziness runs in my family.”