Do I Have to Get an Independent Medical Exam?
Written by Greg on April 23, 2019
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 you with a course of treatment. It is important to follow the doctor’s orders for your treatment and ongoing care. The insurance company will review your injuries. In some cases, the defense may request that you visit an independent physician to evaluate your injuries before they make a determination for payment.
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 most commonly associated with workers’ compensation cases but may also be utilized 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 in which there is good cause for the exam and the person’s medical condition is in controversy.
The purpose of 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 first verify the details of the injury. A request for an IME typically means that there is a dispute of the injuries. This is something that should be reviewed and discussed with your attorney before you move forward with the request.
IME Exams in Lawsuits in Texas are Rarely Objective and Unbiased
The truth of the matter 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 unwarranted and the victim is faking are all common opinions from defense doctors. Some of these doctors make hundreds of thousands of dollars simply by helping the folks that pay them by giving adverse opinions in a personal injury case.
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 first talking to your attorney for direction.
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 of the best way to move forward and will help you resolve 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 auto accident lawyer.
Contact our legal team at Baumgartner Law Firm for a free initial case consultation. Call (281) 587-1111!
Texas Rules of Civil Procedure http://www.txcourts.gov/media/1055394/trcp-20150901.pdf