Why is My Insurer Requesting an Independent Medical Exam?
Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Aug 12, 2020 in Personal Injury
Accident victims often do not understand what an Independent Medical Exam (IME) is, or why they should get one if they are already being treated for their injuries. It seems unnecessary until you understand the insurance company’s real purpose for requesting an IME.
At Rizk Law, we understand exactly why insurance companies ask for IMEs. It is not out of concern for your health, no matter how nice your insurer or their chosen doctor may appear. However, these exams may be required, so it is important to understand why you are being asked to get an IME and how to handle it.
This is just one reason we strongly recommend that you seek legal help as early in the process as possible. Our qualified attorneys are very familiar with what an IME is and how to help our clients prepare for this exam. Learn more about the legal help we provide to injured victims by scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation at our firm.
What is an Independent Medical Exam?
The idea behind an IME is to have a non-biased, third-party physician examine you to determine what your injuries are, your current state of recovery, and your long-term prognosis. While this sounds good on paper, there is a major contrast between what an independent medical exam (IME) is designed to be, and what it is, functionally.
How an Insurer Really Uses an IME
IME doctors are selected, hired and paid for by the insurance company. Therefore, these “independent” physicians will not be doing what is best for you, but rather they will operate in the best interests of the insurance company.
During your exam, the IME doctor will ask you questions about your injuries, examine you physically and look for holes in your story. For example, they will try to confirm whether your injuries are real. Essentially, the doctor will check to see if you may have lied about suffering any injuries. Sometimes the doctor may even determine that you have no injuries, even when one exists.
The doctor will also be looking for evidence that you are not as badly hurt as you claim. The IME doctor will be checking your pain symptoms, range of motion and other factors to determine whether you may be making your injuries sound worse than they are.
The IME doctor will likely ask for access to your medical records to see if your injury may have been preexisting or caused by something besides the accident.
You might think this is reasonable information that your insurer wants to verify before offering a settlement. However, insurance companies often find ways to take portions of the truth and use it against you to devalue or deny your claim.
While your insurer has a right to understand the scope of your injuries when determining the value of your claim, it is important to make sure someone is looking out for your best interests as well. A good attorney will fight to ensure that your best interests are protected throughout this legal process.
What Happens if I Receive a Request for an IME?
Under ORCP 44 in Oregon’s Rules of Civil Procedure, defendants can ask for an IME, but there must be good cause and they must request it through the court. If you receive a notification for an IME, it is a court order.
If one of our Portland personal injury lawyers is handling your case, we are prepared to determine the best approach for handling this request. If you do need to attend an IME, you can rest assured that we will help you to understand, thoroughly prepare for, and get through the exam.
Some helpful information if you are required to attend an IME:
- Never exaggerate: This tactic will likely backfire and damage your credibility as well as your claim
- Always be truthful: Provide the facts, but do not embellish your answers.
- Do not hide a preexisting injury:Your attorney can prepare you on how to reveal a prior injury.
Your attorney may also be able to make a request for certain conditions for your IME, such as being allowed to record the exam or bring a representative with you. These are details you can discuss with your attorney.
Contact Our Law Firm for Legal Help After a Car Crash
At Rizk Law, we understand that being asked to undergo an IME may feel overwhelming, but we are prepared to help you through every aspect of your potential case.
Our law firm has been advocating for injured victims for nearly 20 years and we have recovered millions on their behalf. Firm founder Richard Rizk was recently selected as a 2020 personal injury Elite lawyer. Schedule your completely free consultation anytime, day or night, by contacting one of our representatives at: 503.245.5677