If you’ve filed a personal injury claim, or plan on doing so, there’s a good chance that you will have to see a doctor who will perform a so-called independent medical exam. In actuality, many IMEs put the insurance company’s interest above being truly fair and impartial.
That’s why it is so important that you handle the process carefully to ensure that your legal rights and best interests in general are met.
- Prepare your thoughts in advance. You will be asked about certain details relating to how the injury occurred. You will also be asked about previous injuries. Recalling these details in advance will make your exam run smoother and ensure you don’t leave anything out that can be held against you later.
- Bring someone along with you to the exam. Even if it’s just a friend or adult family member, their mere presence may help temper any inappropriate actions the doctor may take. The person you bring can also help remember details about the examination and can even take notes. If possible, have them take an audio recording of the exam, which could serve as important evidence in court.
- Never discuss anything about a settlement. There’s nothing positive that can come of it. You also do not have to discuss details about the accident beyond what may have caused your injuries. In other words, do not discuss who is at fault.
- Don’t sign anything other than the sign-in sheet at the front desk. If the examiner or someone else at the facility puts something else in front of you to sign, say you would prefer to have your attorney look at it first.
- It’s important that you reveal all pain that you experience during the examination. Don’t try to be tough or think that only a little hint of pain isn’t worth mentioning. Any pain, large or small, may be related to your personal injury case and help your case. Besides, a very small pain can worsen over time.
- Ask for a copy of the IME report. Go over their findings before you proceed with the insurance company.
- Always be truthful. This is important for the obvious ethical reasons, but also remember that the doctor will be looking for signs, overt or subtle, that you are not telling the truth or are acting in a suspicious way. This includes disclosing any and all previous injuries, because if you don’t and it’s discovered, you’re only hurting your case.
There’s a fairly good chance that your independent medical exam will not be favorable to you. If you feel this is the case, and that it may hinder you receiving fair compensation for your injuries, give us a call and we can discuss your case in complete confidentiality.