If you have been involved in an accident or sustained an injury and liability is an issue, you may be asked to undergo an independent medical exam (IME).
An independent medical exam is performed by a doctor or physical therapist who has not had prior involvement in your care.
It is important to remember that there is no doctor/patient relationship between yourself and the physician performing the IME.
The Independent Medical Examiner is requested by the worker's compensation insurance carrier, auto insurance carrier or self-insured employer from which you are expecting to receive disability compensation.
The IME is supposed to be an independent opinion used to determine if your medical condition was caused by an event that warrants compensation, the extent and permanency of your injuries and the efficacy of your treatment.
Before your appointment you should be given reasonable notice of the time, location, examiner and scope of the examination.
Keep in mind that to receive compensation you will have to surrender all medical treatment notes, lab reports and other relevant information from any doctors or therapists who have treated you.
These will normally need to be turned over before your IME.
At your examination it is important to keep in mind that the "independent" examiner is paid by the insurance company.
Physicians can make a lot of money by doing regular independent medical exams thus giving them an incentive to find reasons for the insurance company to deny your claim.
While at the Independent Medical Exam, you should not ask the examiner for any professional opinions or suggestions.
Keep your answers truthful and simple.
Exaggerated claims, phantom pains and inconsistencies in your answers or medical history give the examiner reasons to recommend a denial of your claims by attacking your credibility.
While given the facade of being an independent exam, you should never forget that the main purpose of an IME is to be able to collect and document additional evidence for the disability or workers compensation insurance company to deny your claim.
Insurance companies may even frame the exam as a means to determine how much to award you.
By going into your IME properly prepared, you will be able to limit the amount of documentation that can be used against you in the claims process.
If you have any questions about this complex process or are looking to receive a substantial settlement, you should seek the counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney.