What is an Independent Medical Examination?
If you were injured in a car or truck accident and have filed a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may ask you to submit to an Independent Medical Examination (IME) performed by a doctor of their choice.
It’s not a given, however, that the examination is truly independent. Bias is a real concern in an IME and could have a huge impact on the value of your claim.
The defendant often has the right to demand an IME, but you have rights as well when it comes to a medical examination, including the right to ensure the exam will in fact be independent.
The Purpose of an Independent Medical Examination
Soon after your car accident you probably had an initial medical examination performed by a doctor of your choice. During a car accident lawsuit, the defendant may want a second opinion on your injuries to confirm that.
- You suffered the injuries that you are claiming
- The injuries are as serious as you claim
- The injuries were caused by the car accident
The examining doctor will not only give you a physical exam, but also ask you questions about the accident, your injuries and symptoms, and your treatment.
On the surface, the examination may seem straightforward, but it’s important to keep in mind that the doctor has been chosen by the insurance company, which has a business model of paying claimants as little as possible–or denying their claim altogether. Insurance companies request many IMEs each year and may have working relationships with certain doctors. It’s not uncommon for these “independent” doctors to downplay a patient’s injuries to benefit the insurance company.
Your Rights During an IME
Although your truck accident lawyer in Lakeland, FL from David & Philpot, PL might advise you not to submit to an IME–especially by a physician known to side with insurance companies–the court can order you to submit to one. Voluntarily submitting to an IME can also be a signal of good faith on your part to the defendant.
When you do consent to an IME, understand that you have certain rights. They can vary by jurisdiction but generally include the following:
- Perform due diligence and determine whether the requested doctor is independent
- Bring a witness and/or your own doctor to the examination
- Be given adequate notice of the time, manner, place, and scope of the examination
- Only be subjected to a single IME, unless there are good reasons why more than one is needed
- The defendant must bear the costs of the IME
- The independent examiner must be available for cross-examination by your truck accident lawyer in Lakeland, FL during a deposition or at trial
Protecting Your Rights After a Car or Truck Accident
Our Lakeland truck accident lawyers will make sure that your rights as a car or truck accident victim are protected, and that you receive every dollar you are entitled to for your injuries.
The insurance company does not have your best interests in mind, but we do. If you’ve been injured in a car or truck accident, please contact our truck accident lawyer Lakeland, FL relies on, today for a free case review.