If you suffered injuries in a car crash and are seeking compensation from the at-fault party’s insurer, you may receive a request to attend an independent medical examination (IME). While it is not uncommon to receive an IME notification, it is a good idea to learn more about it before attending.
Goldberg Finnegan discusses IMEs for car crash claims, including how insurers may use them to downplay the severity of your injuries to devalue or even deny your claim.
Our experienced Silver Spring car crash attorneys are ready to help you with your car crash claim, including communicating with insurers and preparing you for an IME, if one is requested. An initial case review is completely free.
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Why Am I Being Asked to Go to an IME?
Car crash victims may receive a request to attend an IME to help the other side’s insurer gain an objective assessment of the injuries caused by their policyholder. The insurance company hires a doctor who is not involved in your medical care to examine you.
In theory, the IME doctor is an unbiased and independent medical professional who is offering his or her professional assessment of the injuries you sustained.
Independent Medical Exams Are Not As Objective As Claimed
In reality, IMEs are often anything but unbiased. True impartiality is difficult, since insurance companies select and pay the doctors who perform these exams. Additionally, insurance companies may also try to use these exams as an opportunity to:
- Attempt to bring your credibility into question
- Downplay the severity of an injury, or dispute that it exists
- Look for evidence to show your injury was preexisting and not caused by their policyholder
- Find reasons to delay your claim
It is important to remember that insurance companies are, first and foremost, for-profit businesses. Therefore, their position on any claim is to fight for maximum profit by paying out as little as possible. Unfortunately for injured victims, especially those without legal representation, this could result in a lowball offer on a claim.
IMEs – What to Know Before You Go
You should learn more about what to expect and how to prepare for your IME by meeting with your attorney in advance. If you do not currently have legal representation, we strongly recommend that you consider consulting with a licensed attorney as soon as possible.
That said, here are some answers to common questions we get about independent medical examinations:
Can I Refuse to Attend an IME?
While you could refuse to attend an IME, it is not recommended. The insurance company will likely get a court order to compel you to attend anyway. Your attorney may be able to help with the scheduling of your IME, such as by ensuring you receive advanced notice and an appointment time that fits within your schedule.
How Do I Prepare for an IME?
If your claim is being handled by an attorney, he or she should fully prepare you for your IME. Naturally, you want to dress appropriately and be on time. However, here are some additional preparation points to consider before you go:
- Be mindful of the reason for the IME – The IME doctor is only there to gather information about you to give to the insurance company. Be polite, cooperative and honest. However, avoid oversharing or giving opinions about the crash or your injuries. What you say could be used to discredit you or bring your earlier statements into question.
- Do not try to hide preexisting injuries – Trying to hide any prior injuries will likely backfire and cause significant damage to your claim.
- Do not exaggerate your injuries – You may be asked to do certain movements, tasks or exercises to give the IME doctor an understanding about the extent of your injuries. There is no need to downplay them, but neither should you make them seem worse than they are.
- Do not sign any paperwork the IME doctor gives you – If there is anything that needs to be signed, ask the IME doctor to send it to your attorney first.
What if the IME Report Conflicts With My Doctor’s Report?
Even with good preparation you could still get an IME report that conflicts with your treating physician’s diagnosis about the extent and severity of your injuries. If that happens, your attorney can help to dispute details that are either inaccurate or incomplete. Additional evidence that may help support your attorney’s legal arguments include:
- Your medical records
- Reports and notes from your treating physicians
- A consistent and accurately documented pain journal
- Statements from expert witnesses
Injured in a Maryland Car Crash? Our Qualified Attorneys Are Ready to Help
If you have been injured in a car crash caused by a negligent driver, our law firm is prepared to help. We have the resources and staff to handle every aspect of your claim, and we have recovered millions in compensation for our clients. Contact Goldberg Finnegan today to learn more about how our experienced attorneys may be able to help you recover the compensation you need. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs.