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What Is an Independent Medical Exam and How Do I Prepare?

If you are filing a claim for workers’ compensation in the state of Connecticut, there is a strong possibility that you will be asked to submit to an Independent Medical Exam, commonly referred to as IME. These exams, which are also common in personal injury cases, are used to resolve disputes or/and determine a plaintiff’s degree of injury or disability.

While IMEs can be advantageous to a claimant’s case in many situations, it is important to understand the consequences than an IME can have. At the law offices of The APEX Law Firm, LLC, our experienced Connecticut attorneys can help you to prepare for your IME, and understand how to use the results of an IME to improve the outcome of your claim.

What Is an IME?

An Independent Medical Exam is a medical examination that is performed by a (supposedly) neutral, third party medical professional. An IME is almost always requested by a defendant company or insurance party who is being asked to pay for damages for a claimant’s disability.

IMEs are requested when the insurance company/defendant disagrees with the plaintiff’s current claim of level of disability, or wants to verify the extent of injury. IMEs are common in workers’ compensation cases when a permanent disability rating is a possibility.

Who Is the Doctor in an IME Exam?

Something that can be complicated about IMEs is finding a doctor who is truly independent and unbiased. Indeed, IMEs are typically performed by doctors who are selected by the insurance company, and may be chosen based on their tendency to side with the insurance company (in exchange, the doctor may be paid by the insurance company, or receive referrals from the company). If you are hesitant about the doctor who is to perform your IME, you should hire an attorney immediately and hold off on submitting to the exam.

How to Prepare for an Independent Medical Exam

One important thing to keep in mind when undergoing an IME is that the traditional doctor-patient relationship, where information you share with your doctor is private, may not exist. Instead, all information that a doctor collects on you will likely be shared with the insurance company. As such, you need to be careful about what you say, and make sure that you do not reveal anything that you do not want the other party knowing.

In addition to choosing your words carefully, other tips for preparing for an IME include:

  • Review the facts of your case. The doctor will likely ask you details about how your injury occurred, treatment you have received up to this point, and how you are healing. It is important that you stick to the facts and can provide specifics about treatment and your injury. To prepare, look over your medical records and doctor’s notes, and review the timeline of your accident and injuries.
  • Write down questions. Asking the IME doctor questions about your condition, their recommended treatment options, and what you can expect regarding your injuries moving forward can be helpful. So that you’re prepared at the time of your IME and don’t forget anything, be sure to make a list of questions before your appointment.
  • Be honest. One of the worst things that you can do during your IME is to exaggerate or hyperbolize the facts of your case or the degree of pain or disability you are experiencing. You want to tell the doctor how you’re feeling and the extent of your limitations, but you also want to make sure that all these statements are truthful.
  • Call an attorney. As stated above, an IME is not always conducted with a claimant’s best interests in mind, and doctors can, and often are, biased. As such, if you have been asked to submit to an Independent Medical Exam, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney will help you to understand your rights (such as whether submitting to the exam is necessary), and how to prepare for your IME.

We’re Only a Phone Call Away

Our experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys at The APEX Law Firm, LLC are ready to represent you if you have a claim and have been asked to participate in an IME. To schedule a free consultation with our law offices, please contact us at (860) 900-0900 today, or send us a message using the contact form found on our website.