Tips For Your Independent Medical Evaluation
The following suggestions can help you minimize the potential damage of an IME to your case:
- Have someone accompany you to the examination—preferably your significant other or trusted friend, a professional appointed by your attorney, or a nurse. The accompanying person should take detailed notes or make an audio recording of the exam. Audio recordings are especially useful since they can prevent scenarios in which the IME doctor omits facts relevant to your case. In some cases, however, the use of recording devices is prohibited (workers’ compensation regulations, for example, do not allow the independent medical examination to be recorded).
- Be aware that you may be under observation at all times, from the moment you get out of your car in the parking lot until you leave the premises. The IME physician will be looking for any signs that cause suspicion or that contradict your claim to an injury. If you spring out of your car or a waiting room chair, the doctor may testify that you are not experiencing pain. In addition, some independent medical examiners set up scenarios that catch patients off-guard; for instance, a doctor may drop something or make a sudden movement that triggers the patient to quickly turn his or her head.
- Do not sign any paperwork other than the sign-in sheet.
- Be polite and cooperative with the IME doctor, but do not answer questions that pertain to fault or that are irrelevant to your case (such as questions about unrelated medical problems).
- Be honest about relevant previous injuries. Insurance companies are skillful at uncovering past injuries.
- Provide a thorough history of the symptoms, injuries, and medical care related to your case.
- If you experience pain at any point during the examination, let the doctor know. The IME exam is no time to be “tough” or conceal your pain.
- Do not agree to invasive tests or submit to procedures that your regular doctor has already performed. In addition, you do not have to endure painful procedures.
While it is unlikely that the independent medical examination report will be fair, with the right preparation, you can minimize damage to your case.
A personal injury or workers’ compensation attorney can help you identify particular tests or procedures that have been ordered but that are not appropriate to the IME counsel, and may advise you not to submit to these procedures. It may also be in your best interest to speak with an attorney prior to the independent medical examination to learn about risky or unfavorable subjects you should avoid discussing during the exam.
If you would like confidential advice and professional consultation before your independent medical exam in Washington, an Emery Reddy attorney can provide you with essential tips.