Independent Medical Examination (IME)
What it is, why it is important to your injury claim
In car accident cases, an unfortunate reality for a personal injury victim is the Independent Medical Examination (IME). Occasionally when someone who is injured in a personal injury accident makes a claim against the at-fault driver's insurance company, the insurance company sends the injured person to a doctor to perform an IME. In some instances your own insurance company will request that you see a medical doctor for an IME when it has paid money under the personal injury protection (PIP) section of your auto insurance policy. In truth, IME should stand for Insurance Medical Examination since these doctors are anything but independent. These doctors are paid for by the defense insurance companies and have they an incentive to provide medical reports that help the insurance company fight your claim. If they do a good job then the insurance company will continue to send accident injury victims to their office.
Here are steps you can take to protect your case if you are required to see an IME doctor. First, its important to know that unlike conversations you have with your own doctor, nothing you say to the IME doctor is private. So be careful what you say in the presence of the IME doctor. You can bet the doctor will inform the insurance company of any off-the-cuff remarks you make and will use them against you if you end up in court. To be clear, I am not saying you should hide information from your treating physician. Be completely honest about your pain and personal injuries, your health info and how you feel. Do not discuss accident details that are not relevant to you treatment and do not let the physician convince you he is "your" doctor. Anything you say can be used against you in court proceedings so stick to the facts and nothing more.
After you finish up your visit with the IME doctor, take down notes on everything you can remember about your visit. For example, how long the examination took, anything the IME doctor says, any questions he asked about the car accident, and any opinions he verbally gives you about your personal injuries, a list of tests he performs on you, and anything else that seems important to you at the time.
Finally, remember that an Independent Medical Exam can only hurt your personal injury case- it rarely can help. So take your visit seriously and do not make light of your accident or your injuries. The IME doctor is not your friend - he or she is being paid by the insurance company and will report results to hurt your lawsuit. Your own doctor is looking out for your interests and is the only doctor in your case that will help you get the settlement you deserve.
Lastly, remember that your accident injury attorney is the only person qualified to handle your case in the best possible way to maximize your settlement. It is his or her job to ensure you are properly prepared to go to your IME visit with all the info you need and to prepare you for the visit. As always,your initial consultation with The Angell Law Firm is free and we represent injured people throughout the Atlanta area and all of Georgia . Call us for your free consultation at (678) 408-4733 or fill out our form on www.georgiainjurylawyer.com to get started today.