What Is an Independent Medical Examination (IME) and Do I Need to Attend?

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If you are in an accident and claim a physical or mental health injury or disability, the responsible party or the responsible parties insurance company will likely want to obtain a medical examination to challenge those claims.
Doctor filling out a medical exam clipboard

If you are in an accident and claim a physical or mental health injury or disability, the responsible party or the responsible parties insurance company will likely want to obtain a medical examination to challenge those claims. If you have been injured in an accident and seek to recover money from someone else for your injuries, you will probably be required to submit to an Independent Medical Evaluation or IME. An IME is usually done by an expert hired and paid for by the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company. Their findings may be different than what your own doctors are telling you.

You must attend an IME when you are seeking compensation for your injuries if the responsible party requires an independent medical examination. The IME doctor will examine the you to determine that you did in fact sustain injuries. The IME doctor will determine the seriousness of those injuries, and whether those injuries are the result of the accident.

You may want to talk to your attorney before your appointment. Your lawyer will be able to tell you how to emphasize certain aspects of your injury or disability during the evaluation. Your attorney may instruct you not to take certain tests or procedures which are not appropriate during the evaluation. Your lawyer may instruct you on certain subjects and issues that you should not discuss during your evaluation, such as your communications with your lawyer or the status of any settlement negotiations.

The purpose of the evaluation is to obtain information for the purposes of a settlement or civil suit. The doctor will conduct an interview to learn the history of the accident and the medical condition, and then conduct a medical examination. The doctor will look at the medical records. An IME doctor looks for a number of factors about the injury victim, including:

  • Appearance – The doctor will observe you during the examination. The doctor will observe the way you walk into the examination room, how you stand, whether you have trouble climbing onto the examination table, how you sit on the examination table, and anything that the doctor believes is relevant to your injury or condition.
  • Deception – The doctor will be looking for sign of deception or exaggeration and will report any signs that you are untruthful or exaggerating any pain or symptoms.
  • Verifiable Injury – The doctor will review medical reports, such as x-rays, MRI’s, CT scans, and nerve conduction studies, for visible, verifiable injuries to measure damage or injury.
  • Reported Pain – The doctor will perform tests which require you to provide indications of reported pain, discomfort, sensitivity or insensitivity.
  • Other Factors – The doctor will ask about other injuries, including injuries that happened before or after the accident, which may have contributed to the injury, or aggravated the injury or interfered with your recovery since the time of the accident. The doctor may ask about drinking, smoking and recreational drug use.

The IME doctor will prepare a report. The report may be slanted towards the responsible party or the responsible parties insurance company because the IME doctors are pair by the defense or their insurance companies.

Settlements and jury awards in serious accident cases usually provide for payment to the injured person, which is paid either by the responsible party or by the responsible party’s insurance company. The party responsible for paying wants to be certain that the injuries are real and that the injuries did, in fact, happen because of the accident.

If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and need help getting compensation for your injuries, call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez of Fernandez & Hernandez at 813 229 5353.

Call 813-229-5353 for a FREE consultation.

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