If you’ve filed a personal injury claim or lawsuit, the at-fault party’s or your insurer has the right to ask you to undergo what is referred to as an “independent medical exam”or IME by a doctor of their choice. This is often a requirement of the legal process. But the key words here are “of their choice”, not yours. What you may be unaware of is that the doctor they have chosen is not doing this for treatment purposes. They are doing it to gather information for the insurer regarding the nature and extent of your injuries.
What transpires in an IME?
During the IME, the doctor assigned to you will ask questions about the accident as well as the specifics of the injuries you’ve suffered. Once completed, the doctor will prepare his or her report and send it to the insurance company that selected them. What you want to remember is that the doctor who examines you has a pre-existing relationship established with that insurance company. Basically, they are working in the insurance company’s best interest.
How to prepare for an IME
When preparing for an independent medical examination, keep the following in mind:
• Be organized.
• Be sure you have the proper date, location, and time of your exam appointment.
• Make every effort to arrive early at your appointment.
• Never re-schedule your appointment.
• Understand that the insurance company has chosen this doctor for reasons that are not in your best interests.
• Most importantly, remember to be honest when answering any questions.
Upon meeting with the doctor, they will review why they are examining you and will ask a series of questions regarding the accident and your injuries. Be sure you answer these questions honestly and in the same manner that you would answer them in a personal injury deposition. Keep the following in mind:
• Before answering any question, be sure what the doctor is asking.
• If a question is confusing or unclear, have the doctor explain or rephrase it.
• Make sure you’re consistent with your answers.
• Take your time when answering any question and be precise when you do respond.
• Above all else, remember that this doctor will be testifying on the insurance company’s behalf. So, avoid elaborating unnecessarily when answering questions.
Finally, do not agree to see another doctor without your Injury Lawyer’s approval in Burlington, do not allow the doctor to conduct other tests or take x-rays, and do not take any psychological or written tests that assess your personality traits and psychopathology. It is important to hire the services of a lawyer before you file the claim as they will guide you accordingly.