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What to Know Before an Independent Medical Examination (IME)

When you’ve been involved in an auto accident resulting in injuries, you’ll want to receive a fair and full settlement from the insurance company. That insurance company may not want to pay out the full amount you’re owed and may attempt to lower your compensation by disputing your injuries. The insurance adjuster may request that you complete an independent medical exam (IME) by a physician other than your own.

This second opinion may appear helpful, but it’s important to note that the insurance companies pay IME doctors. Adjusters look for IME physicians who can find additional explanations for your injuries, resulting in a lower payout. Goodman Acker has put together a list of common tricks that IME doctors employ to try to explain away your injuries. Before your IME, read up on these tricks or contact the team at Goodman Acker for a free consultation to learn about your rights regarding independent medical exams.

What Is an Independent Medical Exam (IME)?

Doctor IME Tricks
Image via Flickr by shixart1985 | Licensed by CC BY 2.0

After an auto accident, any injuries you sustain will be treated either by an emergency room doctor or your regular care doctor. This physician will discuss the extent of your injuries, devise a treatment plan, and provide you with a prognosis. The insurance company may dispute the treating physician’s findings regarding your injuries, resulting in an independent medical evaluation request.

This second examination will be conducted by a different doctor who is hired and paid by the insurance company to get a second opinion on the extent of your injuries. If an independent medical exam is requested, you must complete one. If you’re required to complete an IME, keep in mind the common tricks employed by IME doctors.

What Tricks Do IME Doctors Use?

Your appointment for a second opinion on the extent of your injuries is neither for your benefit nor performed by an independent party. You need to keep this in mind during your IME to protect yourself and your claim. Unfortunately, some IME doctors engage in activities that strongly favor the insurance company such as outright lying about what you said during the IME. Other unpalatable practices include:

  • Asking irrelevant questions. The IME physician who is supposed to be examining your head injury resulting from the auto accident instead asks about your mental health.
  • Speculating about causes. If you experience shoulder pain from a motorcycle accident, an IME doctor may suggest that it stems from the fact that you play golf once a week.
  • Inappropriate tests. Tests and other diagnostic measures unrelated to your injury are conducted to try to offer another explanation for your condition.

Essentially, an IME doctor hopes to find an alternate explanation of your injuries or an over-exaggeration of your injuries from the original treating physician. The insurance company is using an IME to counteract your claim and reduce your settlement.

What Should You Say During an IME?

First of all, be honest. Honesty is the best way to protect yourself against anything conflicting with the original treating physician. You may want to schedule an appointment with the original treating physician to go over notes prior to your IME. You could also ask for a copy of the medical records and notes to keep the details fresh in your brain for your IME.

Keep the conversation to a minimum and focused on your injury. Do not discuss details of the accident. Please note that people tend to talk more when they’re nervous and an IME doctor knows how to use this against you.

Do not answer questions that are not related to the injury. While these may seem innocent conversation starters, they can be used against you. An IME physician can take a hobby such as golfing and attempt to attribute your injuries to that activity. The IME doctor may ask what kind of work you do to try to blame your neck pain on straining over a computer eight hours a day. They may ask about previous injuries, such as a torn meniscus in high school, to attach your claim of knee pain to a pre-existing condition.

Once your IME is complete, negotiations for your settlement will continue as the adjuster reviews the report from the IME physician. If there’s a discrepancy or disagreement between the original treating physician and the IME physician reports, you can request a third medical opinion. You may want to consult with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney before participating in an IME because much of your settlement depends on medical documentation.

How Can Goodman Acker Help You?

The knowledgeable team at Goodman Acker has more than 150 years of combined experience in personal injury cases. We have a 99% success rate in winning cases using the knowledge, resources, skills, and experience we’ve accumulated over the years. We work for you. We fight for the rights of our clients and for a settlement they deserve. Settlements for personal injury can include medical bills, lost wages, future medical bills, transportation costs to appointments, and pain and suffering. We work to get you full compensation for your injuries.

Our team is familiar with the specifics of each case and uses our expertise and knowledge to obtain the best possible outcome. The team at Goodman Acker has handled thousands of personal injury lawsuits across Michigan.

When you’re injured in a motorcycle, automobile, truck, or bus accident, you need to take time to focus on healing instead of worrying about the insurance adjuster. Goodman Acker is with you from the start and will take care of any required documentation and filing. We will investigate the accident, including re-creation and speaking to any witnesses. Our team is here to relieve the stress and worry about the insurance process and let you get back to your life sooner.

Contact Goodman Acker Before an IME

Before you participate in an independent medical exam after your accident, contact the team at Goodman Acker. The initial consultation is free, and we will review the details of your case to determine the best course of action. Reach out to us today at 248-286-8100 or via chat or online form, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Let us go to work for you.

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