Independent Medical Examinations: Are they Necessary in Personal Injury Cases?

Insurance companies are known for employing different tactics in an attempt to devalue or deny personal injury claims. One of these tactics is to request you take an Independent Medical Examination (IME). This means that a doctor hired by the insurer will evaluate you. 

But you must consult with a personal injury lawyer first before you agree to an IME. Your doctor can tell you what to expect from the insurance doctor. You can find a good attorney when you click here

What Happens During an IME?

The IME doctor isn’t your friend, so they may be skeptical of the injuries you sustained. A lot of medical experts hired by insurers use this tactic to get victims to say something that the insurer can use. 

The doctor will ask you some questions during the exam. Answer these questions without elaborating on anything not related to your injuries. You may be asked about your treatment to know if it’s helping. Keep in mind that the way you answer such questions may impact the way the IME doctor writes their report to the insurer. 

Does an IME Work in Your Favor?

A medical expert performs an IME. This physical exam is requested when there’s a dispute over liability for the accident you were involved in and the seriousness of your injuries. The doctor will perform the exam, not oversee your treatment. This means that the doctor-patient privilege does not apply in this examination. Thus, you must be careful with what you say when you undergo the exam. The insurer may use your words against your case.

While the IME doctor should give an objective evaluation of your accident injuries, they may not do so. They are paid by the insurer that wants them to give a medical report to undermine your injury case. But the IME doctor is legally obliged to be honest about the injuries you sustained. For instance, the doctor should say you have a broken leg if the X-ray taken in their office demonstrates it. However, they may attribute the injuries to a condition that is not related to the accident. 

Can You Refuse an IME?

Often, an IME is voluntary for the majority of personal injury claims unless you agreed to undergo one before you recover compensation. While you are not legally obliged to undergo an IME, your refusal may cause the insurer to question the severity of your injuries and deny your claim.