Preparing for an Independent Medical Exam

gavel and stethoscopeIf you are injured as the result of someone else’s negligence, you may have reason to file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. After a claim is filed, the insurer may request that you attend an independent medical exam (IME) to determine the severity of your injuries and the value of your claim.

Before you go to the exam, consult with a Sacramento personal injury attorney so you know what to expect. Insurance companies often hire doctors who tend to reach conclusions that favor the insurance company. Your attorney can help you prepare for your appointment to protect your best interests.

What is an Independent Medical Exam?

As the name suggests, an IME is a physical examination conducted by a third-party licensed medical professional contracted by the insurance company. These exams are usually requested when there is a dispute over the severity of an injury and the value of a claim.

The doctors who conduct IMEs are not like family physicians or other doctors because they are not responsible for the long-term care of the patient they are examining, and doctor-patient confidentiality does not apply.

Is an IME Really Independent?

Even though an IME is called an “independent” medical exam, it is hard to argue the exam is objective. The doctor was hired by the insurance company, and their goal is to pay out the least possible amount of compensation. Doctors who are hired to conduct IMEs are known to write reports that favor the insurance company’s best interests, which tends to make them a preferred contractor for future exams.

One common way an IME report may favor the insurer is claiming that injuries were not caused by the accident but a pre-existing condition that should not be covered by insurance.

Why Should I Agree to the Exam?

Some insurance policies require injured victims to submit to an IME if they are seeking compensation. In fact, an IME can be ordered and if the person refuses the exam, the claim may be denied.

Although the exams are often not neutral and the doctor’s report may strongly favor the insurance company’s arguments, it is still in your best interest to agree to the exam after speaking to an attorney who can guide you through the process. Agreeing to undergo an IME may strengthen your claim because it shows you are not exaggerating your injuries or hiding anything.

What Should I Say to the Doctor?

Honesty is always the best policy. This is especially true in legal matters, so be sure to tell the truth about your injuries when asked by the IME doctor. However, be careful of what you do say. You should only answer the questions asked and be mindful of expanding on your answer to avoid saying something that could be used against you later.

Call to Set Up a Free Case Review with a Knowledgeable Attorney

Our attorneys are prepared to go over your claim and help you get ready for the questions an IME doctor may ask. There is no cost to you while we work on your case and you owe us nothing unless we recover compensation on your behalf.

Call today to schedule a free consultation: (916) 777-7777