With the often tedious process that personal injury claims entail, the insurance companies can sometimes throw another kink in the process by requiring an IME submission. An insurer may require an IME (independent medical examination) upon submission of a personal injury claim, and only if stipulated in the policy’s terms. The insurer uses the IME findings to substantiate, or alternatively to negate, a claimant’s allegations of injury.

Personal injury law firms frequently field requests for IME tips for insurance claimants. These five proven pointers can help ensure the most honest and favorable IME outcomes possible.

Bring a Friend to the Exam

Examining physicians are likely not familiar to or with claimants. For security and support, one should always take along a trusted, competent person to an IME. Scheduling should be convenient to all parties, including the claimant. Also, since the insurer is requiring the IME, they should be liable for covering the cost of the appointment.

Take Notes

That trusted companion is also a considered a witness in this case. Therefore, to ensure the client has a fair account of the IME in the future, the witness should take detailed notes of the IME including start/end times, details of the examination, observations, and any discrepancies or deficiencies. In the event of a dispute, such documentation may constitute critical evidence that personal injury law firms can use to defend a claimant’s allegations of malpractice.

Provide Medical History

The IME is not a complete physical and should only address the injury being assessed in the claim. The examining MD should, however, obtain a thorough medical history and a review of symptoms or conditions prior to conducting a physical examination of any claimant.

Research MD Insurance Connections

In their IME tips for insurance claimants, personal injury attorneys often note that many IME examiners enjoy a brisk income from insurers and thus may tend to under evaluate claimant injuries. If this is the case and there are areas of dispute with the MD or the findings, ask for records of how many IMEs the MD conducts for which insurers per annum. While the information will not be forthcoming, the request may advantageously serve to put the MD and the insurer on the defensive regarding the claim.

Review Complete Copy of Report

Before even agreeing to discuss the adjuster’s report, claimants should first request, receive, and review a complete copy of the examining physician’s findings, rather than an abridged or redacted version. A personal injury attorney can help if an insurer resists compliance with this request. Claimants should alert the insurance adjuster of any issues arising from the IME. To counter an extremely unfavorable report, claimants may consider paying a personal physician to write a letter in support of allegations of injury, or of deficiency regarding an IME.

More IME tips for insurance claimants may also be available, free of charge, from community legal information services.