Independent Medical Examinations: What Are They And When You Have To Submit To One
An independent medical examination (IME) is an assessment of a person's mental or physical health performed by a medical professional who has no previous involvement with the patient. Most often they come into play after some type of accidental injury. They are used to determine your current medical condition, the extent of any physical injuries or mental conditions and how much was caused by the accident, what type of treatment should be given, and whether any of the condition will be permanent. Here are the most common reasons you will be required to submit to an IME.
Car Accident or Other Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injury lawsuits, to include automobile accidents, can become quite expensive to the responsible party, or his or her insurance company. As long as the insurance policy states that an IME may be required in certain situations, you cannot be forced to undergo one unless ordered to do so by a judge. However, because of this, most insurance companies have the need for an IME in all their policies. A judge may order an IME if there is any suspicion your injuries are not to the extent you are claiming.
Child Custody Issues
Unfortunately, some child custody issues get nasty, with each party involved implying the other is unfit or unable to properly care for the child. To protect the children, a judge may order a physical and/or mental IME to determine if the claims are true. He or she will go over the exam reports and use the results in considering who receives custody, and if the other party is allowed partial custody or visitation rights.
Worker's Compensation Claims
If you were injured at work, you are eligible to file a worker's compensation insurance claim. This will pay your medical expenses and provide you with a portion of your income while you are recovering. If the insurance company that issued the insurance policy questions your injuries, you will need to submit to an IME before the case can proceed and you will be paid.
Since an IME is often performed by a medical professional who has some type of relationship with the insurance company that will be paying your medical bills, many people question just how independent it is. To even things out a bit, take a friend or your lawyer to the exam with you. Have them take notes on everything that is said and occurs during the exam. If you have any trouble receiving the monies owed to you, take a transcription of the exam with you to court. The exam itself is nothing to worry about really, the important part is to be honest when asked about your injuries and don't let the doctor sway you to say something that is not true.