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Will I Need an Independent Medical Examination for My Car Accident Claim?

An independent examination is done by a doctor, psychologist, or expert in a legal matter when liability has to be determined.

Dealing with insurance companies and recovering from a car accident is not easy. Victims not only have to handle their pain and health recovery, but they can also feel under scrutiny when it comes to their legal rights to compensation.

An independent medical examination is one of the things that intimidate many victims. Let’s go through the details of this legal tool that insurance companies use.

st. louis woman talking to doctor after being in a car accident

What Is an Independent Medical Exam?

An independent examination is done by a doctor, psychologist, or expert in a legal matter when liability has to be determined. 

When you make a claim for your car accident injuries, the insurance company will generally try to minimize its financial losses by demanding strong evidence of any injury claim. While that is understandable, insurance companies also use some bad faith tactics to keep their profits high. There are cases when doctors are paid by insurers to perform medical examinations that would minimize the victim’s injuries. 

Who Will Decide What Doctor to See for My Independent Examination?

The rules on determining liability through an independent medical examination depend from state to state. However, it is, indeed, the insurance company’s right to request a second opinion, just as you have a right to see a doctor you select yourself. 

The insurance company will select the doctor you will have to see. Sometimes, they offer you a list of approved doctors and you can choose for yourself who you will see.

Can I Refuse an Independent Examination?

Keep in mind that refusing an IME is not a good option. This could signal that you are hiding something, which can be used against you. However, if you have serious reasons to believe that the doctor you have seen did not represent reality accurately, this should be discussed with your attorney.

How Do I Prepare for an Independent Medical Examination?

Since you generally should not refuse an IME, the best thing you can do is to be prepared for what will happen and help your case by avoiding certain mistakes. Don’t exaggerate your injuries or your pain, as your examination will be confronted with other testimonies you gave during the discovery period. 

Gather information about the IME, just in case you will have to challenge it later. Having a witness accompany you is also a good idea if allowed. Take notes of how the examination takes place, what was discussed, and how long you were in the doctor’s cabinet. 

Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Attorney

Negotiating with an insurance company for a personal injury settlement is mostly about who brings the most reliable evidence to support their side. Ensure your rights are protected by speak with an experienced car crash attorney as soon as possible after a car accident.


Free Consultation with a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer

Don’t talk to an insurance claims adjuster before speaking with The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. We can help you avoid making statements that may affect the outcome of your case. The consultation is free; you don’t pay unless we get you money!

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Updated: June 23, 2020