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Long Term Disability LawyersWhen serious injuries are incurred after an accident, costly medical bills usually follow. The purpose of an independent medical evaluation (IME) is to verify the injuries of the plaintiff before the defendant pays the bills. The person who is responsible for paying for the injury generally wants to be sure that the injuries are legitimate, as severe as the victim claims and have been caused by the incident in question. To ensure that the responsible party will not be paying for anything extra, an IME may be requested by the defendant or their insurance company.

The defendant may also be wary of the victim’s physician and concerned that their doctor may have a personal bias toward them. Even though victims reserve the right to choose their own physician after an accident, the responsible party can request an Independent Medical Evaluation when the victim has not yet been evaluated (this is the most ideal scenario for the defendant), or after the victim has already seen their own physician.

In many cases, the victim will consent to an IME because they do not have anything to hide. Other times, they may fear that the alternate physician has a bias toward the defendant or that they are going to be seen by a physician who favors the insurance company. When a victim refuses to see an independent physician the insurance company may file a motion to compel the IME. This typically occurs if the victim’s refusal seems questionable and injuries are being disputed. A judge will make the final determination, and may appoint a physician if one cannot be agreed upon.

When an IME has been requested, the victim should understand their rights before submitting to the examination. In most cases, the victim’s attorney may be present during the examination and it is recommended that the lawyer accompanies the victim to the visit. The victim should be aware that they are being observed at all times, not only in the examination room. If injuries do not appear to be present while in the waiting room but suddenly exist in the examination room, a doctor or nurse may testify that they saw no impairment. During the IME a victim should not sign any unnecessary paperwork, and must refrain from talking about the case. Any wording that suggests fault can crush a case.

Independent medical examinations do not only exist in personal injury cases. Child custody cases see many IME requests in order to determine the mental stability of either parent. An IME will not be compelled if the responsible party makes an unreasonable request, such as choosing a physician who is located far away. An IME will be denied if an injury has already completely healed, or if the victim is only suing for damages to an object such as a home or vehicle.

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