Tips to Help Prepare for an IME
It’s common practice with personal injury claims for the insurance company representing the other party to request the injured person to submit to an independent medical examination, also known as IME. If you have recently filed a claim, you should expect a call from an insurance adjuster to schedule the appointment. The purpose of the IME is for a physician selected by the insurance company to examine the person filing the claim and submit a written report. This can feel intimidating, especially when you feel someone might be trying to discredit you. We encourage you to review these tips so you can remain confident throughout the IME.
Questions to Expect from the Medical Examiner
The most important thing to remember about an IME is that the other party’s insurance company has selected the doctor. You shouldn’t feel surprised if he or she challenges your answers or seems partial to the other party. Even so, you stand the best chance of obtaining a favorable report by remaining calm and providing as much detail as you can remember for each of the examiner’s questions. These will likely include:
- What treatments have you received for your injury and how effective do you think they are? Common treatments include medication, surgery, and physical therapy.
- How does this injury affect your everyday life? Can you no longer perform certain activities because of it?
- What makes pain from your injury better and what makes it worse?
- What were you doing when the accident occurred?
If you’re concerned you might get nervous or forget details, prepare written answers ahead of your appointment and bring them along. Just be certain the answers you provide orally match what you have indicated in writing.
Stick to the Facts
Feeling defensive in this situation is understandable, but it will only hurt your case. You know you’re telling the truth and your confidence should reflect that. Be certain to answer every question the medical examiner asks the best that you can. If you don’t understand something, ask for clarification rather than not give a detailed response. You should be thorough but never exaggerate. Additionally, don’t state your opinion about what happened to you no matter how tempting it is to do so.
You Might Want to Bring a Friend or Family Member with You
Even when you prepare for an IME, you might still become flustered when the physician challenges your responses. That is why bringing someone with you is a good idea. Your friend or family member might hear things you missed and can confirm your version of the appointment later if necessary. He or she can also take notes while you’re busy answering questions and undergoing an examination. Just the presence of another person can spur the doctor to treat you more respectfully. However, the person you bring with should remain a quiet observer and stay polite and respectful just as you should.
Your Rights Regarding the Report
As the subject of an IME, you have the right to see the full report. When you do, it might disappoint you to see that the doctor provided brief or superficial remarks about his or her findings as well as your responses. It may not indicate all symptoms you experience due to the accident either. While waiting for the report, consider requesting copies of your medical records. This enables you to challenge anything in the report you find inaccurate. The person who accompanied you to the exam can also dispute inaccuracies in the report.
You might feel particularly upset if the report paints you in a negative light and downplays your injuries. If so, ask your treating physician to write a report that outlines your injuries and medical treatment in a more objective manner.
Get Additional Help with Your Personal Injury Claim from Smith & McGhee
At our law firm in Dothan, Alabama, we’re squarely on the side of the injured person. Our attorneys will file a lawsuit against the other party on your behalf and then fight for a fair settlement. If we can’t reach an agreement with the legal firm representing the other party, we will use our expertise to prove his or her liability in court. Please contact us at 334-708-3158 to request a free and confidential initial review of your case.