If you are a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, your insurance company may request you undergo an Independent Medical Examination (IME) to verify your medical condition. The term IME is inaccurate, at best, because there is truly nothing “independent” about them. In fact, the examiners selected are chosen and paid for by insurance carriers over and over and over again.
IMEs are sometimes used to discredit information, and the doctors who perform them are often more than willing to side with the insurance company because they receive repeat referrals. That doesn’t mean your exam can’t produce positive results and, at a minimum, your goal should be to reduce the amount of potential damage an IME does. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Preparation for an Independent Medical Examination (IME)
The day before your IME, take a few moments to write down a brief history of your case. Include information on what the problem is, where and when it started, and what actions you have taken to correct it. You should also list a complete history of treatment and the results of it thus far. Once you’ve written this information down, review it so that you can more accurately answer questions during your IME.
Bring a Friend
Bring a friend with you to your independent medical examination if possible. Have this person take notes as to what time you arrived, when the exam began and the type of questions the doctor asks. Your friend can also serve as a witness in the event there is a question as to the doctor’s motive or demeanor.
During the Examination
Be punctual, and arrive in plenty of time to fill out any necessary paperwork. Bring any medical records with you if asked to do so. During the examination, answer all questions honestly, yet avoid giving too much information. If a simple “yes” or “no” answer suffices, don’t feel you have to elaborate.
Doctors will sometimes perform certain maneuvers that are not necessarily supposed to induce pain. As such, you should not assume that every one of them is supposed to hurt. Physicians may attempt certain maneuvers and say things such as “tell me when this hurts”, as a way of testing whether or not you are describing symptoms accurately. Don’t say something hurts if it doesn’t, as doing so could call your entire diagnosis into question.
Take a picture of visible injuries in the examination room, making sure there is something in the background that can clearly identify your location. This can prove useful should the doctor claim no injury was present.
After the Independent Medical Examination
Immediately after your Independent Medical Examination, write down what happened for future reference, and have your witness do the same. Provide your attorney with a copy of these written statements.
Obtain a copy of the report and check it for inaccuracies. Ask your own doctor to write a statement contrasting the inaccuracies if possible. Keep in mind your physician may charge you for writing a statement, in which case you should determine whether or not the cost would truly offset the IME findings.
Although an IME can be stressful, it is nonetheless necessary in a number of personal injury cases. With the right planning, an Independent Medical Examination will have as little negative effect on your case as possible.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If you have been involved in an accident resulting in injuries, it is important that you seek the help of a personal injury attorney. Your attorney will help guide you through the complicated process of settling your claim and if necessary, prepare your case for a jury trial.
The personal injury attorneys at David & Philpot, P.L have been helping protect the rights of accident victims in Florida for over 20 years. They provide compassionate, aggressive, and knowledgeable representation to each and every client. Contact them today for a free consultation (800.360.7015), or fill out a free case evaluation form and they will get right back with you.