Do I Need to Have an Independent Medical Exam for my Car Insurance Claim?
Has your insurance company requested you go through an independent medical exam?
You may be concerned the insurance company will use this to try to reduce the value of your claim. You may also be unsure if you are required to go through with it.
This is an issue to discuss with a licensed attorney. The experienced New Jersey car accident lawyers at the Lynch Law Firm, PC can discuss this issue with you during a free consultation.
What is an Independent Medical Exam?
An independent medical exam, or IME, is an examination performed by a third-party doctor. If you file a claim for your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage or an at-fault driver’s insurance coverage, you may be asked to do an IME. This exam helps substantiate your claim for damages and allows the insurance company to verify the extent of your injuries.
The doctor will use a variety of subjective and objective judgements to determine the extent of your injuries. The doctor may require you to bring x-rays or other treatment information that you may have if the injury was already treated. The doctor will also have a conversation with you, asking you about your pain and reactions to the injury. Additionally, the doctor and his or her staff may watch you in the waiting room or parking lot to make sure you are not attempting to exaggerate your injury.
Is This Required in New Jersey?
If you file a claim under your PIP coverage, you will probably be required to go through an IME, as it could be one of the terms of your policy. If you are filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company, you may not be required to go through an IME, even if the other insurance company requests it.
Is the Doctor Biased Against Me?
Even though the doctor performing the IME is a third-party, he or she was chosen by the insurance company. Insurers are likely to pick doctors who have a history of reaching conclusions that are more favourable to insurance companies.
Doctors who perform IME’s usually reach one of three conclusions that are unfavourable to the accident victim:
- Your injuries were not caused by the accident
- You do not have an injury
- Your injuries are not as severe as you claim
Preparing for an IME
You should contact your attorney before attending any independent medical exam. Your lawyer can discuss any concerns you have about the IME and give you tips on protecting your claim.
Here are some general tips you should follow at the exam:
- Arrive on time. Being late to an IME can annoy the doctor and staff and you do not want to give them any reason to hold something against you.
- If you are required to take along any previous medical records, review the list of requested documents with your lawyer before bringing them with you. If you have not been contacted about medical records, you may want to talk to your attorney about whether you should bring them.
- Do not exaggerate the injuries or pain that you feel. Doctors have generally performed many IME’s and can tell when someone is exaggerating. They also have a robust understanding of the connection between injuries and pain levels, so any exaggeration will likely be noticed.
- Be honest about pre-existing conditions that you may have.
- Take someone along with you if you can. This will allow you to feel a bit more comfortable and will provide a witness in case anything feels strange to you.
- Be honest and cooperate with doctors and staff.
Contact Lynch Law Firm, PC Today
If the insurance company has asked you to go through an independent medical exam you should consider talking to a qualified personal injury lawyer. The attorneys at Lynch Law Firm, PC have years of experience representing the interests of New Jersey personal injury victims and have a proven record of recovering fair compensation.
Call Lynch Law Firm, PC anytime 24/7 at (800) 518-0508 .