An IME is a medical exam (or exams) scheduled by an insurance company in order to make a determination of the nature and extent of your injuries following an accident.
If you have put in a claim against your own automobile carrier for No Fault Benefits, under your policy of insurance, the company has the right to schedule as many medical examinations as they feel is necessary. Typically, the company will schedule you to see doctors who practice in areas similar to those doctors you are seeing. For instance, if you are getting treatment from a chiropractor, the company will schedule you for an independent medical examination with a chiropractor. If you have a broken bone, the insurer will send you to an orthopedist. You must cooperate with the insurance company and attend these appointments. If you do not, you may risk losing your No Fault benefits.
The same holds true for the insurance carrier for the person you may be suing in an accident case. As you are claiming injuries, the carrier has the right to get an objective medical opinion in order for it to try to put a value on your claim.
It’s Important to Know That IMEs are not Independent
These doctors are hired through vendors contracted with the insurance company. The vendors are like middle-men, who provide IME doctors to all of the different insurance carriers in New York. In many cases, the doctor’s sole source of income is performing IMEs. Does that sound independent to you?
You should also note that these doctors are not going to treat you for your injuries. In fact, just the opposite is true. Since they rely on a stream of work from the insurance company, they will try to find ways to report to the carrier that you do not need further treatment or that your injuries are not as bad as you claim them to be.
Keep These Items in Mind if you are Scheduled for an IME
- Let your attorney know when and where your appointments are scheduled
- Write down all of your symptoms to take with you so you don’t forget.This list should include your physical limitations and where your pain is.
- Ladies, refrain from wearing shoes with heels. Doctors will make note of what you wear to the examination.? You do not want the doctor to make a judgment call about your condition based upon what you decided to wear on your feet.
- Don’t exaggerate your symptoms to the doctor. You risk damaging your claim.
- The doctor will ask you questions regarding the accident and your injuries. Be brief and to the point. No need to elaborate off topic. Again, this doctor is not treating you.
- Take written notes of what time the examination starts and what time it ends. Note what types of tests the doctor performed on you. Give your attorney this information.
- Do not allow the doctor to give you invasive tests such as X-Rays or EMGs.
- Keep in mind that every move you make is being observed, including walking and getting on and off the examination table.
If you have any questions, talk to your attorney.