How Insurance Companies Use Independent Medical Examinations to Their Advantage
Personal injury claims are complicated at the best of times. And when you get a notification that the other party’s insurance provider is ordering an independent medical examination, that’s definitely not the best of times. While the name “independent medical examination” may make it seem like you’re participating in an objective third-party overview of your injuries, that is not the case.
Learn more about what an independent medical examination is and how it can hurt your claim. When you’re ready to take the next step with your personal injury claim, call Mann & Potter at 205-879-9661.
An Overview of Independent Medical Examinations
Independent medical examinations, often shortened to IMEs, have a very misleading name. In theory, they should provide an objective look at the extent of your injuries and how much the insurance company should pay you. In reality, an IME involves a doctor chosen by the insurance company.
The insurance company knows which doctors are likely to give reports that are favorable to their case, so an IME is anything but neutral and unbiased. Consider an IME equivalent to talking to the police without an attorney when they suspect you of a crime—nothing you do can help you, but it’s very easy to do something that actually hurts you. Unlike talking to the police without an attorney, though, you cannot refuse to participate in an IME.
Who Does the IME Help?
The IME undoubtedly helps insurance companies, which is why they order them. If IMEs routinely led to insurance companies being forced to pay more or cover more expensive treatments, they would never order them. However, insurance adjusters know that requesting an IME from the right doctor can limit their own financial liability and put them in a position to offer less money.
What does this mean for you? You do have to go through an IME when requested, unfortunately, so this means that you have to do what you can to mitigate the situation.
Information Gathered During an IME
The doctor conducting your independent medical examination can use anything and everything in their report. That doesn’t just start when you enter their exam room. That starts from the moment you arrive at the clinic. If you claim that your injury is so bad that you can’t drive but they clearly see you drive up to the appointment location, that will definitely end up in their report.
If you claim that your pain is so bad that you can’t take care of your children but you mention taking your daughter to ice skating lessons three times a week, that will end up in the report. While your medical information and tests will be the primary focus, anything else you say or do can also make its way into the doctor’s final report.
What an IME Can Do to Your Personal Injury Case
As you may have expected, an independent medical examination can have a devastating effect on your personal injury case if you don’t approach it correctly. If the doctor finds that your injuries are less severe than you claimed or that your symptoms are better than you reported, the insurance company may refuse to pay for further treatment or decrease what they are willing to pay you.
How an Attorney Can Help
This is just one reason you should have a personal injury lawyer on your side when you are going through an accident claim. An experienced personal injury lawyer will know exactly how IMEs work and what you are up against, and they’ll know how you should approach it to limit the damage to your claim. As soon as you find out that you have to go through an IME, contact your attorney with all of the information you have. They will help you move forward with a plan.
Choose Mann & Potter for Your Personal Injury Claim
Fight for what you deserve with a committed and aggressive advocate. The team at Mann & Potter is focused on helping accident victims get what they deserve after a collision. Give us a call at 205-879-9661 or fill out our online contact form to get the help you need.