The Impact Of An Independent Medical Exam On An Auto Accident Claim
An Independent Medical Exam or IME is not an independent exam per se. It is actually an exam conducted by someone who has a direct conflict of interest in the results entailed. Typically an IME is conducted by a doctor of either your own insurance company’s choosing, or the other party’s insurance company’s choosing. In this exam, the doctor is trying to disprove what you and your doctors are claiming regarding your injuries. Their primary objective is to find a means of denying you the monetary compensation that you deserve. Sometimes, a plaintiff’s own insurance company may require them to take an IME if they feel that the treatment undergone thus far has not been up to par or unreasonable. This usually happens when insurance companies don’t want to pay for your medical treatment.
An IME conducted by the other party usually occurs near impending litigation of an auto accident claim. The other party’s recommended doctors are allowed to examine you in order to obtain a “fair” evaluation of your injuries other than your medical records and the testimony of your treating doctors. The reason is that it is possible that your treating doctors could be impartial to your viewpoint and act in your best interests by giving a testimony favorable to your claim. The IME seeks to actively corroborate your injuries with the records provided by your treating physicians.
So, in such an unfavorable circumstance should I refuse to undergo the so called “Independent Medical Examination?” The answer is you cannot refuse. The IME is typically mandatory when requested by the other party. The expense of the IME is borne by the insurance company requesting it and any missed time from work may be duly compensated in this regard. Generally there is a clause in your insurance policy which states that any prior or further medical treatment may be denied if you refuse to undergo an IME or if the results of the IME reveal that your treatment was unreasonable and unnecessary. In such an event an auto accident claim may be thrown out and even additional penalties could be assessed against you. However, this does not mean that you have to bow to each and every whim of the doctors performing the IME. Certain tests or procedures such as MRI, CT-Scan, X-Rays, Blood Tests, or any other non-human eye test besides blood pressure readings cannot be performed in an IME.
Prior to undergoing an “Independent Medical Examination”, you should go over your medical records in order to gain familiarity with the medical terminology employed by doctors or other healthcare providers. This can enable you to have a better understanding of any questions that the doctors can pose to you during the examination. A competent and experienced auto accident attorney usually has copies of medical records organized chronologically for review at hand.
What to do when preparing for your exam and during your exam? Before your exam you should read over your medical records and become familiar with medical terms that your doctors and treatment providers have used to describe your injuries and treatment. That way when you go into the exam, you are ready for the tough questions that doctors may ask you and understand the medical terminology that they use to refer to certain regions of your body and injuries that you may have sustained. Your attorney will have copies of all your medical records and should have it organized chronologically for their own reading convenience and yours. It is also advisable to have a loved one accompany you in the event of an IME who can testify as a witness to examination procedures and corroborate the testimony of the other side’s doctor. It is advisable to be courteous to the doctors and their staff as well as all the other players that you meet in your auto accident case but don’t trust everyone because not everyone has your best interest in mind.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in Florida, it is essential that you retain the services of qualified legal counsel such as car accident lawyer David Lipcon to protect your rights and get the compensation you deserve.