If you’ve suffered a workplace injury you may be familiar with the term “independent medical examination.” This process, also referred to as an IME, involves a medical evaluation by a doctor other than your own. An IME is usually requested by an insurance agency to confirm or dispute a diagnosis. Injured parties should approach the IME process with caution. An unfavorable IME can have a negative effect on your case.
When is an IME Used?
Beside the scenarios discussed above, an IME may be recommended by the court itself. A judge can order an IME to resolve disputes about the medical evidence in the case. An injured party may also plan an IME if there is a disagreement about the results of the first exam. When and how an IME comes into play depends on the facts of your case.
What Procedures Does the Doctor Perform in an IME?
The physical will prepare for the IME by reviewing the patient’s medical history. Once the patient is present, the doctor will ask several questions related to the injury. A physical exam will also be performed to determine the extent of the injury. One important aspect to this examination is that there is no doctor-patient confidentiality. Statements and observations made at the IME can be used against you in the lawsuit. Thus, it is important to discuss the process with a personal injury lawyer beforehand.
Which Doctor Will be Assigned?
State law determines who chooses the physician for the IME. In Utah, the insurance company adjuster can choose which doctor to use. The doctor is expected to be an objective party to the case. However, it is difficult to achieve true objectivity due to the conflict of interest. This is due to the fact that the IME physician is usually paid by the insurance company.
When Will I Know The Results of the IME?
You should not expect immediate notice of the IME results. The examining physician is required to complete a report for the insurance company. However, there is no specific time limit for the completion of an IME report. If it is taking a long time to generate the report, you should consult a personal injury lawyer.
The IME’s Effect on the Case
The results of an IME can have a big effect on your case. The court will take the opinion of the examining doctor very seriously. Courts also tend to rely heavily on the IME due to the perception that the examiner is a neutral party. If it is determined the injury is not work-related, your insurance coverage may be reduced or denied. As such, it is important to make sure the IME is as accurate as possible. The best way to do this is to communicate all of your symptoms in a detailed manner. In some cases it may be necessary to correct inaccuracies with your own documentation. Those suffering from a workplace injury need to pay particular importance to the IME process.
Legal Assistance for an IME
If you need advice concerning an IME, contact attorney Rex B Bushman. The information on an IME report has the ability to cut off your coverage. Don’t try to face the complicated process alone. Get assistance from a personal injury lawyer right away!