What is an Independent Medical Exam (IME)?
Independent medical examinations also known as IME’s are medical
evaluations performed for the purpose of clarifying clinical and legal
case issues, particularly after
injuries resulting from a car accident. The evaluation is performed by an independent evaluator or doctor, meaning
one who has not previously been involved in the injured party's medical
care. The evaluator performing the exam is paid for by the auto insurance
company. Exams can be performed by a variety of doctors, including a pain
doctor, chiropractor, neuro-psychologist, and more.
Who requests IME’s?
IME’s are usually requested by insurance companies following a Michigan
car accident in which injuries have occurred and the injured party is
suing to receive compensation for those injuries. The injured party must
comply with the IME and the insurance company has the power to choose
who the IME evaluator will be for the case.
Why are IME’s requested?
IME’s are requested in legal cases in which liability is an issue.
Insurance companies want to pay out the least amount of compensation possible
to the injured party; the injured party wants the insurance company to
cover all medical expenses that they believe have resulted from the accident
that occurred. In Michigan, independent medical examinations are common.
This is because
Michigan is a no-fault state which means the insurance company is responsible for payment of your no-fault
benefits (medical bills, lost wages, nursing care and more).
Why are IME’s a controversial topic?
IMEs are controversial because the quality of evaluations and evaluators
varies. As noted by the
American Board of Independent Medical Examiners, it is difficult to identify skilled, thorough and unbiased examiners.
Although training has been provided by several professional societies,
before ABIME there was no national quality certification process.
Another controversial aspect of IME’s is that insurance companies
can choose which doctors the injured person must visit to obtain the exam.
It has been speculated that when this occurs it is likely for the doctor
to write an evaluation in favor of the insurance company, stating that
the injuries are not as a result of the accident or the injured party
is not injured at all. This is because the doctor is paid by the insurance
company and therefore is pressured to tell the insurance companies what
they want to hear so that they can try to deny your claim.
What is the process like for an Independent Medical Examination evaluation?
IME evaluations can vary, but they are usually similar in nature to a regular
physical with additional discussion about the injured party's injuries
from the car accident. They can include any of the following areas of
Identifying data: this includes background information on the examinee, such as name and
age, as well as a brief overview of the injuries, doctors already seen,
and the law firm representing the injured person.
Pre-existing injuries, accidents or diseases: background into past medical issues that could have had an impact on the
History of present illness: background information as to how the examinee obtained the current injuries,
with a description of the scenario that caused them, including the date,
time and location of the accident.
Past medical history: doctor will note any past diseases, family history, and any allergies
the examinee has had in the past.
Past surgical and non-surgical hospital history: doctor will note any past surgeries or hospitalization stays and the causes
and details of each.
Medications: doctor will ask if the examinee is taking any medications currently.
Physical exam: the doctor may do a physical exam of the extremities, joints, vitals and
specific injured body parts.
Social, family, occupational, and functional histories and daily activity: doctor may ask about examinee's daily life in order to get a full
picture of the examinee's day-to-day lifestyle.
Report: an overview of the doctor's findings and his report on the examinee.
Although the list above is extensive, it is possible that an evaluator
will not put extensive time and effort into evaluating injured persons.
Again, this is because they are paid by the insurance companies and will
often try to help the insurance company keep more money in their pocket.
It is important to document how long the appointment lasted and if the
evaluator did a thorough examination.
What Do I Do If I Am Sent A Request For An IME?
If you are a victim of Michigan auto accident and are sent a request for
an IME you have to go. Michigan Supreme Court has held that insurance
companies can request these exams at will with little recourse for the
claimant to prevent them from occurring. If you do not go, you take the
risk of the insurance adjuster throwing out your claim all together.
The results of these IME’s are often the same – our Goodman
Acker P.C. lawyers see it all the time. The injured individual goes to
the examination and the doctor state’s that the victim does not
require the care or treatment they have been receiving for their injuries
for reasons varying from the person is not injured to do not require as
much treatment. Allstate and State Farm are notorious insurance companies
for doing this.
What Do I Do if the Insurance Company Cuts Off My Benefits After an IME?
You may not be able to avoid going to an IME but at the law offices of
Goodman Acker P.C. we can help you if you have been cut off or denied
benefits after an IME. For over 30 years, our car accident lawyers have
been helping injured victims and their families combat the unreasonable
insurance companies and we can do the same for you. In fact, before you
even go to your IME is in your best interest to speak to an attorney to
discuss your claim and have a better understanding of your rights. We
also recommend you download ours to have a better understanding of what
you should and should not say to the insurance adjuster.
Filing a suit against the insurance company not only requires experience
but an in-depth understanding of no-fault law. Our
Detroit car accident attorneys will use our experience, knowledge and skill to protect your interests
and ensure you get the benefits they are entitled to. Without experience
and knowledge on your side, you are taking the chance of being cut off
and possibly at a loss with your medical bills.
Call today at
(248) 793-2010 to learn more on how our Michigan car accident lawyers can help you. There
is no cost or obligation to do so and we will be able to give you the
advice you need so that you do not ruin your claim.