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What should I know about an independent medical exam?

Proving that you have suffered an injury that has kept you from going back to work is an important part of recouping your lost wages. To make your case, you probably have acquired medical records from your recent doctor’s visit that show the impact of the injury. However, a visit to your primary doctor may not be enough to support your claims.

The insurance company for the party responsible for your injuries may argue that since you have visited your doctor, the test results were not truly objective. The insurer may require you to undergo an independent medical exam.

Who conducts an IME

According to FindLaw, the person who conducts an independent medical exam is a doctor other than the one who personally treats you. An IME doctor is an independent medical professional who does not have any responsibility for your long-term care or treatment and can give a neutral opinion on your injury.

What an IME will determine

The overall goal of an IME doctor is to make sure your claims are valid. Specifically, an IME will make sure that you have sustained the injuries that you have claimed. The IME will also confirm that you have not exaggerated the extent of your injuries.

Even if the IME validates your claims, an independent doctor may check to see if your injuries stemmed from another cause. The doctor may ask you about other injuries you have sustained or pre-existing conditions. This is to ensure that the party you seek to hold responsible is truly liable for your injuries.

Choosing the IME doctor

You might not have confidence that an IME doctor will provide a fair evaluation of your condition. In some circumstances, the party that wants an independent exam may choose the doctor. However, it may be possible to contest a doctor’s choice. If so, a court may end up selecting the doctor. For added assurance, you may also seek to have an attorney attend an examination.

FindLaw Network