What Is an Independent Medical Examination?

What Is an Independent Medical Examination?

July 19, 2019

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, part of your case will likely be a requirement to get an independent medical examination (IME). This will aid in any disputes that might arise between insurance companies and parties to the claim. But what exactly is an independent medical examination, and why is it required? Read on for some information from an auto accident attorney in Portsmouth, VA.

The purpose of an independent medical examination

An IME is a type of evaluation used to put to rest any questions about your medical condition. An insurance provider will often request an IME because it disagrees with the decision made by your own personal doctor about the type of medical treatment you’ll need. They are significantly more likely to request an IME if the doctor will request an expensive procedure, such as surgery, or if they want clarification on the extent to which you will be disabled and/or affected moving forward.

The purpose of an IME is to provide an objective assessment of your health. However, the actual objectivity might be in question in some circumstances, depending on how your doctor is selected. If the insurance company requests an IME, it will also be likely to select the doctor who will evaluate you, which means you can reasonably question that doctor’s impartiality. After all, they’re being paid by the insurance companies, and rely on those companies for referrals, which means they are incentivized to lower costs to the insurer.

You may be able to request an IME yourself if you disagree with your treating doctor’s opinions, in which case you’d be able to select your own evaluating doctor.

What to expect during your IME

Before the examination, all relevant medical records will be sent to the doctor performing the examination. That doctor will have the choice of reviewing those documents either before or after the examination. In some cases, the insurance company might write a letter to the doctor explaining the injury, the treatment you’ve received so far and some specific questions it wants answered about your condition.

For example, the insurance company might want to know whether or not you’ve been properly diagnosed and truly have the condition you claim to have. It might also want to know if the symptoms were truly caused by the car accident, if you’ll need additional treatment or testing, when (or if) you’ll be able to return to work, if you’ll have any day-to-day restrictions and if you’ll have any permanent disabilities (and to what extent those disabilities will limit you).

You have the right to review any letter the insurance company sends to your IME doctor, so you can correct any factual mistakes and advocate for your own best interests.

For more information about navigating the IME and how you can make sure you’re treated fairly by the “independent” physician who examines you, contact an experienced auto accident attorney in Portsmouth, VA at Auto Accident Specialists, Inc. today. We look forward to answering your questions and addressing your concerns.

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