After you have been injured in an accident, the first and most important thing to do is visit the doctor or emergency room. The doctor will evaluate your injuries and provide a course of treatment. Following the doctor’s orders for your treatment and ongoing care is important.
The insurance company will review your injuries. In some cases, after a personal injury lawsuit is filed in Texas, the defense may request that you visit a physician they pay and choose to evaluate your injuries.
What is an Independent Medical Exam?
An independent medical exam (IME) is an examination by a physician that is alleged to be neutral to a particular insurance claim or injury case. An IME is commonly associated with workers’ compensation cases but may also be used in personal injury cases. An IME doctor is supposed to provide an unbiased medical opinion about a person’s medical condition and prognosis following an injury.
A physician is qualified to be an independent medical examiner only once certified. The insurance company will generally provide a list of physicians to choose from or may provide you with the name of a specific doctor.
An IME exam usually follows a specific list of requirements. You will be asked to make certain movements that will indicate the condition of your injury.
What if the Insurance Company Requests an IME?
The insurance company may request that you submit to an IME. If they make that request, you should first speak with your attorney. Generally, the law allows an IME through the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure. An examination by a third party must be warranted. An IME is only allowed in cases with good cause for the exam, and the person’s medical condition is controversial.
Requesting an IME is to refute a person’s medical claims. For example, if you provide information about a back injury, the company may not want to provide payment until they verify the details of the injury. A request for an IME typically means a dispute regarding the injuries. Before you proceed with the request, this should be reviewed and discussed with your attorney.
IME Exams in Lawsuits in Texas are Rarely Objective and Unbiased
The truth is many physicians constantly work with the insurance industry in giving opinions that can be predicted in advance- the claimant was not hurt or not badly hurt, the medical treatment was unwarranted, and the victim is faking are all common opinions from the defense doctors.
Some of these doctors make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year simply by helping the folks who pay them by giving adverse opinions in a personal injury case.
It is so bad that in Texas, with some IME doctors, plaintiff attorneys can predict what the doctor will testify before the exam.
Contact a Knowledgeable Houston Accident Attorney
Be cautious when speaking with an insurance adjuster. Keep in mind that all of your conversations will likely be recorded. Therefore, do not casually answer questions without talking to your attorney for direction. Negotiations with an adjuster must be done with preparation and care.
Remember that the insurance adjuster is not your friend and is likely looking for a way to reduce the amount of your claim. Contact your attorney before you speak with the insurance company. Your lawyer will advise you on how to move forward and help you evaluate your claim with the best outcome possible.
If you were hurt in an accident, do not settle your claim until you talk to a skilled Houston motorcycle accident lawyer.
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure
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