If you have sustained injuries in a car accident and filed a claim with the insurer of the other driver, there’s a good chance you will need to undergo an independent medical exam (IME). The insurance adjuster will schedule the appointment for you and request that the doctor submit a report to him or her later. By knowing what to expect and preparing in advance, you can go into the IME with confidence.
Questions You Should Expect
It’s important to keep in mind that the doctor performing your IME has been chosen by the insurance agent representing the responsible party. In the case of a hit and run or uninsured motorist, you will need to file a claim against your own insurance company. Unfortunately, this means you can’t expect completely partial treatment. Don’t be surprised if the medical examiner seems to question your narrative. You should be prepared to give detailed answers to the following questions:
- The treatments you have completed so far for your injury, including physical therapy, medication, or surgery
- How the injury affects you currently
- Daily activities you can no longer do because of the injury
- Types of activities that seem to make the pain worse
Since the medical examiner may be too rushed to listen to your full answers, it’s a good idea to bring along a written statement. It should be detailed and to the point, but nothing more than a single page. Additionally, your written statement and the answers you give at your IME should always match.
Consider Bringing Another Person to the Exam
It’s easy to feel flustered and overwhelmed when you sense that someone is trying to discredit you. When you bring a friend or family member with you, that person can take notes and act as a witness in case a dispute comes up later. It can also encourage the doctor to treat you in a more respectful manner. Just be sure to explain to this person ahead of time the purpose of the IME and what you need him or her to do. Your friend or family member should act as a silent observer and not confront the doctor in any way.
It’s understandable that you would feel defensive going into an IME, but this can work against you. Do your best to keep a calm composure and answer all questions directed at you to the best of your ability. Provide the medical examiner with relevant facts about your injury and how it affects you without exaggerating. That could come back to haunt you later. Always remember to stick to the facts without injecting any type of opinion.
What to Do When You Disagree with the Report
You have a right to see a copy of the entire report, not just the sections that corroborate the insurance adjuster’s claims. When you view the report, you may find that it’s too brief, superficial, or that the medical examiner didn’t provide a detailed history of your symptoms. It’s beneficial to have a copy of your own medical records so you can dispute anything in the report that doesn’t seem right to you. Let the insurance adjuster know that the person you brought with to the IME can back up your version of events.
If you feel the report is especially negative, you may want to consider having your own doctor write a statement concerning your present injuries. While he or she may charge you for this service, it gives you something to counter what could be a biased evaluation by the doctor representing the insurance company.
Obtain Legal Representation from Olmstead & Olmstead
It’s easy to feel intimidated and settle for less than you deserve when you’re up against a big insurance company. At Olmstead & Olmstead, our experienced Virginia personal injury attorneys represent the interests of injured people in Manassas, Virginia and the surrounding communities. We will aggressively challenge an unfair IME and fight to get you a fair settlement. Please request your free initial consultation today by calling our office at (703) 361-1555 or by using our online contact form.