An independent medical exam (IME) is requested after getting into a truck accident injury accident and filing a personal injury claim. An independent medical exam (IME) is requested. This exam is demanded by the insurance company or at-fault party, where the victim must undergo a medical examination to determine the severity of the physical injuries.
Usually, you will undergo treatment under the doctor of your choice who will diagnose you and provide treatment when you get injured. However, the doctor is appointed by the insurance company when it comes to IME. Continue to read more about IME below.
How does IME work?
After filing a truck accident claim, the at-fault party or the insurance company will reach out with a formal communication requesting the victim to go under IME. While you may think you are heading towards a doctor, these doctors are trained and work for the insurance company. Since they represent the insurance company, they work in the company’s best interest rather than yours.
The doctor will evaluate your injuries during IME by conducting a one-time examination. Based on the diagnosis and studying your injuries, the doctor will send a final report to the insurance company. In many cases, attorneys notice that IME is biased toward victims and is mainly an effort to lower your settlement amount. However, it is essential to note that IME is necessary for victims even if they provide all the evidence from their doctor, including medical records.
IME is considered a second opinion by the doctor of the insurance company’s choice to ensure your injuries are severe and need extensive treatment as you claim them to be. Therefore, victims must go under IME.
Can you oppose the IME results?
In case the results are biased and do not do justice to your injuries, you can dispute the IME results by providing a copy of all your medical records to the insurance company. A witness testimony from your doctor will also come in handy when giving evidence of your injuries to the insurance company. You can also highlight the wrong or inappropriate findings from IME and offer them to the insurance company. Your doctor’s reports and screenings are considered more accurate than a one-time IME report.
Can You Refuse an IME exam?
Unfortunately, you cannot refuse an IME exam when the insurance company demands one. The insurance company will provide you with a written and formal communication about your IME details, including the date and time, location, and other details about the same.
Since IME is conducted to determine the extent of your injuries, you cannot refuse to be present. However, if you have any special requests about IME, you can communicate with your attorney, who will talk to the insurance company and your behalf. But remember, in the end, it is mandatory to undergo IME. If you give excuses not to go under IME, the insurance company will use it against you, claiming you are trying to run away from IME and get a reason to lower or deny compensation.
Tips to prepare yourself before an IME
Knowing that the doctor may be biased since they are appointed by the insurance company can give you a tough time before undergoing an IME exam. It can be difficult to understand what you should do and what you should not since your words and actions can be used against you. Below are a few tips to help you prepare before undergoing your IME.
- Get proper sleep a day before and avoid panicking. It is normal to be anxious about what will happen at your IME exam, but try to remain as calm as possible.
- Reach the appointed location before time. This will allow you to have some time to prepare your mind before meeting the doctor.
- Dress appropriately. If possible, wear loose and comfortable clothing when you visit the doctor.
- Always be honest about your injuries. If you exaggerate your injuries, you can lower the chance of getting compensation.
- Be prepared to explain your injuries to the IME doctor. Remember, when you explain your injuries, it should match with your claim and the evidence you have provided. If your injuries and health condition do not match the claim, you can get into trouble.
- After your IME, see your own doctor on the same day. Getting a proper evaluation done by your own doctor will help you understand how the reports will turn, and if there is any biased report, your doctor’s report and statements from the same day can help in proving that your injuries are severe.
- Speak to your attorney and prepare your answers before you undergo an IME. This is because the doctor may manipulate you by asking various questions, and if you answer something that is not requested, it can be used against you. Therefore, during your IME, you should be brief but thorough with your answers and answer only the questions which you are asked. Lastly, elaborate your answers only if the doctor asks you.
Can your attorney accompany you during your IME exam?
You can take someone with you during your IME exam, including a colleague, friend, family member, or attorney. However, any person who accompanies you cannot answer any questions to the doctor on your behalf, but they can document, take notes, and observe what is happening during your IME.
Attorneys recommend not going alone during your IME and having someone instead. This is because if you have someone along during your IME, they can be used as a potential witness if needed. They can provide their statement about what they witnessed during IME, and things can be in your favor if you go against the reports of IME.
Contact an attorney
You do not want to give the insurance company a chance to lower or deny compensation for your injuries. Therefore, you should always speak to an experienced truck accident attorney who can help you with IME details and get maximum compensation.