Independent Medical Examination
If you are a plaintiff in a personal injury case, defense counsel may request that you undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME). Injury claims are for substantial sums of money and those named as defendants are potentially liable for paying all of it. Because of this, defendants, such as insurance companies, will go through great lengths to undermine a person’s injuries and losses. They will try and disprove that you were injured or that you were not as injured as you are claiming. That is one of the main reasons an IME will be ordered. It is in the hopes that an independent doctor will be able to find weaknesses in your injury claims.
What Is an Independent Medical Examination?
After an accident resulting in injuries, you are free to seek medical treatment with the doctor(s) of your choosing. In case there may be any bias on the part of your doctor, the defendant is allowed to have you examined by an “independent” doctor. It is important to note, however, that the IME doctor is not usually very independent. They often will lean in favor of the defense’s position. While the IME doctor examines the victim’s injuries and their extent, the doctor will be looking for signs that the injury is not real or is exaggerated. The doctor will also examine the plaintiff’s medical records to see if anything may be from another preexisting condition or lifestyle factors.
What Does an IME Doctor Review?
The IME doctor will review things such as:
- The general appearance of the plaintiff
- Medical imaging studies and other objective manifestations of injury
- Tests that challenge the patient to see their level of discomfort and pain while performing certain tasks
The plaintiff, depending on the injuries at issue, may have to go to more than one IME. If the plaintiff is represented by an attorney, the IMEs are usually scheduled by agreement of the parties. However, the defense could seek a court order requiring the plaintiff to submit to an IME if no agreement is reached. Many insurance policies contain language that requires the insured to submit to an IME request.
Defense counsel most commonly sends a letter stating the date of the IME and the doctor that will be conducting the IME. The letter will also include any requests for medical records that should be brought to the examination. Make sure to bring this documentation to your IME. When you are at the IME, be honest and direct. Be clear with the doctor regarding your symptoms and your pain levels.
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The process of bringing a personal injury claim includes many steps and can be very complicated. With Cummings Law by your side, you can be confident in having us fight for your right to full and fair compensation every step of the way. Contact us today.
Posted in: Personal Injury