Do I Have to Undergo an Independent Medical Exam for a Personal Injury Case?
One of the tactics insurers use to find a reason to deny or devalue injury claims is to request an injury victim to undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME). In an IME, the victim’s injuries are evaluated by a doctor hired by the liable insurance company.
Before you agree to this evaluation, you should consider speaking to a licensed attorney. Roden Law’s personal injury lawyers in Savannah are here to discuss what to expect from the doctor. The consultation is free, and you only pay us if we win.
What is an Independent Medical Exam?
An IME is a physical examination that is conducted by a medical professional who is hired by the liable insurance company. Usually, the insurance company requests an injury victim to undergo an IME when there is a dispute over who is liable for an accident and the severity of the injuries the victim suffered.
Doctors who conduct IMEs are tasked with conducting an examination, not overseeing treatment. That is why IME doctors do not need to abide by the doctor-patient privilege. That means you should be careful about what you say during your examination as it may be used against you in the future by the insurance company.
Is the Doctor Truly Independent?
Although the doctors who are contracted by the insurance company are meant to be objective in their evaluation of your injuries, they rarely are.
The insurance company pays these doctors with the intention that they may provide a report that undermines your personal injury case, all to protect their bottom line.
However, the doctor still has a legal obligation to tell the truth about your injuries. For example, he or she must say your leg is broken if an X-Ray conducted in his or her office shows it is. But the doctor may attribute your injuries to a pre-existing condition or something else unrelated to the accident.
What Should I Expect During the Exam?
The doctor conducting your IME is not your friend, so it is important to be prepared to face a person who will be skeptical of your injuries and may even be rude to you. This is often a tactic used by these medical professionals to get injury victims to say something that may benefit the insurance company.
Answer the doctor’s questions but try not to elaborate on anything that may not pertain to your current injuries.
The doctor is likely to ask you questions about your current treatment to see if it is helping. Understand that how you answer these questions may affect how the doctor writes his or her report to the insurance company.
Since every case is different, it is difficult to detail every potential scenario of what to expect from an IME. That is why you should speak to one of our licensed attorneys before you talk to the insurance company and agree to an IME.
What Should I Expect from the Doctor’s Report?
The report usually includes basic data about your examination and a thorough review of your medical records and finally a prognosis of your injuries about how to either stop or continue treatment.
Do not underestimate the ability of a kind and seemingly fair IME doctor to write a report that completely contradicts what your other doctors and attorney are saying about your claim.
These doctors use some of the same tactics the insurance companies use to devalue injury claims by saying a victim is not as hurt as he or she says.
What if I Refuse the Exam?
An IME is usually voluntary for most personal injury claims unless there was a pre-existing contract between you and the liable insurance company in which you agreed to a medical exam before recovering compensation.
Although you are under no legal obligation to agree to an IME, if you refuse, the insurance company may claim you are not seriously injured and could deny your claim. If that happens, you may have to file a lawsuit and a judge may order you to undergo an IME anyway.
Get the Legal Advice You Need. Call Us Today
If you are filing a personal injury claim and the insurance company requests you undergo an IME, you should seek out legal help as soon as possible.
Our attorneys have experience dealing with insurance companies and their contracted doctors, so we know how to prepare our clients for this process.
As a victim, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries if they were caused by someone else’s negligence. Roden Law has been helping injury victims since 2013 and has successfully recovered millions in compensation on their behalf.
There are no fees while we work on your case and we only get paid if you do, so there is no risk to you.