Understanding the Independent Medical Examination in a Personal Injury Case

By June 27, 2016Personal Injury

Doctor Examining an InjuryExperienced Injury Attorneys Helping Victims in St. Louis

A personal injury claim often involves disputes over large sums of money in order to compensate the plaintiff for his or her injuries. In these cases, the defendant’s insurance company will want proof that the plaintiff was truly injured, and suffers from the injuries that he or she claims in the lawsuit, before it will offer compensation for such injuries. In this instance, the plaintiff would be required to submit to a medical examination with the sole purpose of validating the alleged injuries, at the request of the defense. This is known as the independent medical examination (IME).

The IME is also referred to as an adverse or compulsory medical examination. The purpose of the IME is not to treat the plaintiff, but instead to validate the diagnosis already received by the plaintiff’s current treating physician. The IME will also confirm any injuries that are connected to the lawsuit, and confirm whether or not the proposed treatments are necessary and valid.

Who Requests the IME?

The IME is typically requested by the defense, and the party requesting the IME is typically required to pay for the examination. They must also arrange for the IME, and pick a physician of their choice. The judge, however, can order a specific physician to conduct the IME in certain situations.

If you have filed a personal injury claim, you can expect the defense to request an IME to establish the validity of your claim. You will need to comply with this request – failure to do so could result in your case being dismissed. Also, realize that the IME is not a negative thing. In most cases, the IME substantiates your claim, and therefore increases your likelihood of winning the claim.

When is the IME Conducted?

The IME is typically ordered for the following:

  1. The plaintiff’s injuries are disputed by the defense.
  2. The insurance company needs to verify the plaintiff’s injuries.
  3. There are issues as to if the defendant truly caused the injuries.
  4. The plaintiff was not examined by a physician.
  5. The insurance’s policy states that there must be an IME before a claim is approved.

IMEs are not just reserved for personal injury claims. They have also been used in guardianship and custodial cases, as well.

There are situations where the insurance company is barred from requesting an IME. These include:

  1. The insurance policy has no language stating that an IME is necessary or required.
  2. The plaintiff has filed a suit for property damages – not bodily damages.
  3. The plaintiff filed suit after he or she has fully healed.
  4. The examination would subject the plaintiff to undue harm or burden – such as an examination that is scheduled several hundred miles from the plaintiff’s home.

It is important that you comply with all requests from the court. While you may not like the idea of being requested to attend a medical examination, your personal injury attorney can be present at the time of the examination to ensure that your rights are not violated.

Have You Been Injured? Contact a Personal Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, contact Carey, Danis & Lowe Attorneys at Law today. We offer free case evaluations, and can help you determine if you have a valid claim. We will walk you through the process of filing such claims, including the IME, so that you fully understand what lies ahead. Schedule your free consultation now by calling us at 877-678-3400 or filling out our online contact form with your questions.