Medical Exams and Car Accident Injuries
If you have been in a car accident, you may be asked to undergo an independent medical exam or IME. These are asked for by insurance companies to prove that your injuries are what you say they are. While these are relatively common in personal injury cases, here is what you need to know.
Do You Choose the Doctor?
In an IME, you do not get the choice of a doctor. This is supposed to be an objective exam and normally, the insurer will choose the doctor for you. Often, the insurance company already has doctors that they prefer to use in these situations. Now, in some states, you may actually be able to request an IME if you think that your treating doctor is being dishonest. In this case, you are the one who selects the doctor.
Now, some states do have different systems. For instance, some may randomly select the doctor from a list of qualified medical professionals. In other cases, a judge may appoint a doctor. There are a variety of rules and a variety of ways that you might see your doctor selected.
What Can You Do During the IME?
Before you show up to your appointment, your medical records should be in the hands of the doctor. Either the doctor reviews the documents before he or she begins the exam or looks afterward. During your exam, the doctor will probably ask you a number of different questions. You should always respond courteously and politely. Make sure to stay honest. Most attorneys suggest, however, that you stay short with your responses. Be careful of explaining too much. This is particularly true if the insurance company itself hired the doctor.
The doctor might ask if you have the condition you claim, what caused your symptoms, if you have additional symptoms or need additional treatment and if you are able to work. He or she may also question any type of disability. You can also ask the doctor if you can review any letter that the insurance company might have sent him or her, in case there are any mistakes.
If you have never dealt with an IME before, it might be intimidating at first. Remember that these doctors do not have the same relationship to you as your primary care doctor. These exams are normally done so that the insurance company can receive an objective eye or so that they can dispute your claim. Contacting a car accident lawyer may help ease some stress if you have an IME coming up.