Independent Medical Examination
When it comes to personal injury cases, high monetary payments may be an issue at hand. This could be due from the person at fault or from an insurance company. Before throwing tons of money into paying for physical injuries, a person responsible for said injury will want proof that it is real. They may also want to find out if the injuries are as bad as the victim says that they are; therefore, evaluations are typically done as a result. This is known as an Independent Medical Examination or IME.
What are some reasons for IMEs? Soon after the personal injury accident takes place, the victim may be examined and treated by a physician of their choosing. A realistic worry is that the victim will choose their own physician and said choosing will be biased toward the victim in assessing the extent of the injuries. Therefore, the party being sued may want to have an independent physician examine the victim’s injuries. That independent physician may examine to make sure that the victim actually did sustain injuries and if they actually had to do with the accident mentioned.
So when are IMEs typically ordered? If the injured victim doesn’t want to attend an IME, they may be compelled to in other circumstances. Many states have passed laws that allow insurance companies to compel an IME when a claim seems questionable in any way. These exams can only be compelled when the insurance policy contains language that requires the insured party to submit to an exam. If the insured needs to travel long distances from home to have the exam, that would be seen as a burdening situation.
How Can I Protect Myself During the Exam if I Believe the Adjuster Doesn’t Have What is in my Best Interest?
First off, you could bring a friend with you to the IME. You can explain to that friend or family member ahead of time what the IME is about and what you need them to do, which could first include taking notes on exactly what time the doctor begins and ends the exam, what medical history or other questions the doctor asked you, and also what tests the doctor performed and how long they took. The person can then act as a witness if you have an argument with the adjuster about the accuracy of the examination. Having another person in your presence may keep a doctor from being intimidating or harassing you.
You may also believe that a physician and adjuster have made a bad report on behalf of your injuries. IMEs are conducted by doctors who work for insurance companies, and these same doctors want to keep the insurance companies happy. You should always take proper precautions to make sure a bad report wasn’t made. You can ask for a copy of the report, and should even refuse to discuss the report with your adjuster until you have a complete copy. You can also point out to the adjuster that you believe that the examination was unfair in any way, for instance, if it was very brief when you didn’t believe it should have been. Another thing you can do is ask for information about the IME doctor’s relationship with the insurance company.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, it is always important to consider seeking advice from an experienced personal injury attorney. If you plan to recover money from someone else due to your injuries, you will probably be required to submit to an IME. In order to protect your rights, work with a lawyer today. Call MDL for a free consultation and review of your potential claim.