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The Independent Medical Examination (IME) is something that may be required during your personal injury claim. When you file a claim based on physical or mental injury, such as claiming that you are personally disabled, you are allowing the defense to disprove (or verify) that claim. To do that, they will order an IME.
Your attorney will prepare you for the IME and the questions that you may be asked. You do not have to answer anything outside of the scope of the medical examination, but you may be required to answer questions regarding your health, fitness, and previous injury. Your attorney, however, can be present at the IME to ensure only appropriate questions are asked, and that you answer correctly.
The Process of the IME
IMEs aren’t independent. Despite their name, they are done by an expert who is hired and paid for by the defense. This person doesn’t work for you or your attorney, nor does he or she work for the court. Instead, the physician will use the findings to help the defense, and he or she is specifically hired to do just that; therefore, don’t be surprised if the findings are contradictory to what your own physician has stated.
The IME professional is not allowed to lie, but he or she can interpret medical information in favor of the client (the defendant). After all, the doctor was hired to disprove the validity of your injury claim.
There are times when certain aspects of a plaintiff’s health are under question, which means you may endure more than one IME during your case. If you are being treated by a neurologist, you may have a neurologist perform an IME. Also, if you are seeing a physical therapist, the defense may order another IME from their own physical therapist to assess your condition.
You may be required to bring along medical records or imaging studies. Do not forget these when you go. The IME doctor will assume that you are hiding something or tell the defense that you did not cooperate.
How to Behave
While it may take time from your day to conduct multiple IMEs (or even just one), you must be honest, polite, and helpful with the physician who is examining you. Try to be clear and communicate everything to the doctor, and make sure the information you share is relevant to the injury. Do not go in-depth on anything outside of the injury. While the doctor does work for the defense, just treat the meeting like any other doctor’s appointment. Regardless of who they work for, doctors are still bound by their ethical conduct and moral obligations to patients.
Speak with Your Attorney
Before going to your IME, meet with your attorney and see what advice he or she has about the type of doctor whom you are seeing. Your attorney may already know the physician from previous cases, too. Also, your lawyer may want you to emphasize certain things, such as your disability or how the injury has affected you – all should be done truthfully, of course.
Injured? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, you will have plenty of appointments, questions, and papers to file. Let The Law Offices of B. Clarke Nash, P.C. assist you with your case. Schedule your consultation now by calling 912-200-5292 or request more information online.