The insurance company handling your auto accident claim might order an independent medical examination. Below are some of the issues the independent medical examiner (IME) is likely to assess during the independent examination.
1. Cause of Injuries
The IME will evaluate if the auto accident really caused your injuries. The IME might allege that a previous accident caused your injuries and not the recent auto accident. Expect the IME to dig deep into your medical history.
Consider an example of an auto accident victim who happens to be a manual laborer and who is complaining of severe back pain. The IME might argue that the accident victim's work, and not the accident, is the cause of the back pain.
The IME will also confirm your injury diagnosis. For example, if your medical records mention a segmental fracture, the IME will want to confirm the diagnosis. The IME can save the insurance company some money if they can degrade the fracture to a greenstick or transverse fracture.
Medical treatments cost insurance companies a lot of money. Therefore, the examination cannot be complete without the IME confirming that you are getting or need the right treatment.
Don't forget that most injuries have multiple treatments. A herniated disc, for example, can benefit from various treatments, such as:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic manipulation
- Medication (anti-inflammatory and pain medication)
The IME wants to confirm that you are not getting an unnecessarily expensive treatment. For example, from the IME's point of view, you don't need multiple treatments if medication alone can handle your injured disc.
4. Return to Work
Lost income also significantly contributes to auto accident damages. The sooner you return to work, the less the defendant will pay as lost income damages.
Thus, the IME will evaluate your ability to return to work. For example, if your doctor has advised bed rest for a month, the IME might check if you can return to work faster — say after three weeks or so.
In case you are complaining of a disability, expect the IME to confirm the nature of your complaints. The IME will want to know if the disability is partial, full, temporary, or permanent. Something like a permanent disability can cost the insurance company a lot of money. Expect the IME to be as thorough as possible with their assessment in an attempt to downgrade your disability claim.
Your auto accident lawyer will prepare you for the examination. Follow your lawyer's advice to the letter so that you don't harm your chances of recovery.
To learn more, contact a resource like Carter & Fulton, P.S.