You may receive a notice that you’ve been scheduled for an IME, or independent medical exam. If you’ve been scheduled for an IME, this typically means that the insurance company or the adjuster is looking for a reason to cut off your wage loss or your medical benefits. An IME is paid for by the insurance company, therefore their doctors are not objective and they certainly are not independent. A lot of clients want to know What can I expect with an IME? You will sit down with a doctor who will conduct a physical examination of you. He’ll ask you questions about the nature and extent of your injury, and any kind of past medical history you might have as well. We always remind our clients to:
Be Polite. While the doctor is not your friend, you do not gain any brownie points by being abrasive or arguing with the doctor about your injury.
You have to be on time. It is very important to be on time. Even if an emergency comes up and you are not able to make your IME appointment, first call your lawyer as soon as possible and we will take care of notifying the other people. Or if you are unrepresented, call the adjuster or call the doctor’s office to let someone know right away. If you do not show for the independent medical exam, you can be charged.
Be honest with the doctor. Explain what hurts; how it hurts; what happened. Don’t worry about, so much, how your case is coming across just explain what is going on with your symptoms. Also remember, while you don’t want to go overboard with volunteering information, you want to explain what happened, how you’re feeling, and what your medical treatment is to date.
That doctor will then prepare a report that is submitted for litigation and the insurance company will look it over and see if there is any reason to then deny your medical or wage loss benefits.
Typically most independent medical exams are not favorable to the employee. If you have an unfavorable IME it’s very important that you get a lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer can help attack on foundation, a doctor’s credibility, there are various ways to combat the IME report. We also can get a narrative report from your own doctor (your treating physician) who can explain why their opinion of the causation and your medical treatment has been reasonably necessary vs what the IME doctor has said.
In summary, before your IME appointment be sure to be polite, be on time and be honest with the IME doctor.