If you’ve been injured in a car accident, recovering a full and fair settlement from the insurance company is incredibly important. However, an insurance adjuster may not be eager to pay you what you’re truly owed.
One way that adjusters may attempt to reduce your payout is by disputing the extent of your injuries. They may request that you undergo an independent medical exam (IME) by another physician.
While a second opinion may sound like a good idea in theory, IMEs can threaten your ability to collect compensation for your injuries. IME doctors are paid by insurance companies to conduct these examinations, and adjusters select physicians who they know can help find explanations to counter your treating doctor’s testimony.
As you prepare for your IME, the Detroit car accident lawyers at Christensen Law have compiled a list of the most common tricks of which to be aware. Read on to learn more, or contact us for a free consultation to learn more about independent medical exams and your rights.
What is an IME?
The doctor that treats you for injuries after an accident will advise on the extent of your injuries, treatment plan, and prognosis. However, sometimes disputes arise between the treating doctor and the insurance company. When that occurs, the insurer may ask you to undergo an independent medical evaluation. A different doctor will conduct this exam.
The point of an IME is to get another opinion about the extent of your injuries and the prospects for your recovery. If you are requested to undergo an IME, you must do so.
IME Doctor Tricks
Don’t be fooled into thinking that the IME doctor is on your side or is truly an independent party. Unfortunately, they sometimes engage in practices that can be used against you and in favor of the insurance company, such as:
Lying to the insurance company about what you said during the IME
Asking questions that are irrelevant to the reason that you are required to submit to an IME (e.g., asking you about your mental health when you the IME is supposed to re-evaluate a leg injury arising from a motorcycle crash)
Speculating or finding causes for your injury that are outside the scope of your claim (e.g., if you are suffering from neck pain that you claim arose from a car accident, the IME doctor could suggest that it may be a result of the long bike ride you took the day before the crash)
Using inappropriate tests or diagnostic measures to make a determination about your injury and health condition
What to Say During Your Independent Medical Exam
It’s important to be honest during the IME. You don’t want to say anything that conflicts with what you originally told your treating physician.
You should also be careful not to say too much about the accident. People tend to talk more when they are nervous, which the IME doctor can use against them in a report back to the insurance company.
Usually, settlement negotiations will continue after the adjuster reviews the doctor’s IME report. If the IME doctor disagrees with your own doctor, you may request a third medical opinion. Because so much rides on medical documentation in an accident, it’s best to talk to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney before participating in an independent medical examination.
Christensen Law Can Protect You After Your Car Accident
If you’ve been asked to have an independent medical exam, it’s possible that you may encounter an unfair doctor. A Detroit auto accident attorney can advise you of potential red flags to watch for during the IME and how to handle them. For more information, call or contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.