Insight from an Auto Accident Lawyer Trenton, NJ
What is an independent medical exam?
When you’re seeking monetary compensation for an injury, you may be asked to undergo an independent medical examination, or IME — as a skilled Trenton, NJ auto accident lawyer can explain. This exam is typically done for the purpose of resolving any questions about your injury or medical condition, as well as, the necessary treatment, and the possibility of permanent impairment.
Who Can Request an IME?
In general, any of the following most commonly request IME’s:
- An insurance company
- A workers compensation insurance company
- A self-insured employer
- An lawyer
Who Chooses the Doctor for an Independent Medical Exam?
Independent medical exams are meant to be an objective assessment of your injury or condition. The goal is to:
- Confirm you were injured, or are ill;
- Verify the treatment you have received and need;
- Whether you are permanently impaired; and,
- Your ability to work in the future.
Whether you IME is actually objective will be dependent on how the doctor is chosen. The rules encompassing IME’s vary from each state. In general when an insurance company requests an IME, they will also choose the doctor. This has caused significant controversy because these doctors are getting paid by the insurance company; therefore, there is a risk of subjective opinions and biases. Furthermore, it would be in the doctor’s benefit to reduce the insurers costs by minimizing the extent of your injury or illness, as well as, the need for treatment. Depending on the state you are in, you might be able to request another IME when you do not agree with the opinions of the initial IME doctor. If you have a Trenton, NJ auto accident lawyer, the procedure could be different.
What You Should Know About an Independent Medical Exam
Before you choose to undergo an independent medical exam, there are a few things you should know and consider.
- Be prepared to answer questions. During the exam, the doctor will likely ask you questions about your medical history, how the injury or condition occurred, and what treatment you have received. It may be a good idea to have this information written down beforehand so that it is as accurate as possible.
- An IME is not private or confidential. It is very important to keep in mind that the conversation you have with the doctor of the exam will not be kept confidential. What this means is that unlike a typical patient-physician conversation, anything you say, or anything that a doctor observes, could be used in court.
- The doctor may review your medical records first. Prior to the independent medical exam, the doctor will likely be sent any relevant medical records or documentation; such as, the accident report. He or she may also review details about the emergency care you were given. Whomever is ordering the IME (usually a lawyer or insurance company), may also send a letter to the doctor beforehand. This might include a summary of what happened, as well as questions for the doctor to answer. It is your right to review this documentation to verify that you agree with what is being asked of you. You will also have the opportunity to point out factual errors in the documents so as not to cause any conflicting statements.
- A draft is sent to all parties. After the IME has been performed, the doctor will draft a complete report and send it to all involved parties. You can ask to review the draft to confirm its accuracy. If you’re unsure about anything in the drafted report, or have concerns about your IME, you should speak with an auto accident lawyer in Trenton, NJ.
Have You Been Asked to Undergo an IME?
Regardless of what your situation circumstances might be, if you have been asked to partake in an independent medical examination, you should call an auto accident lawyer Trenton, NJ relies on from Davis & Brusca, LLC to ensure your rights are fully protected.