John A. DeGasperis, Esq.

What is an Independent Medical Examination in a Personal Injury Claim?

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Part of the personal injury claim process may require you to obtain an independent medical examination (IME), which is generally requested by the defendant or insurance company. To learn more, reach out to our firm today and speak with a skilled Ulster County personal injury lawyer today. Our legal team is on your side.

What is an independent medical examination?

Usually, after any sort of accident, the injured party will likely receive medical treatment from the doctor of his or her choosing. However, when a personal injury claim is filed over the accident, the defendant (or their insurance company) will want a second opinion and may ask for an independent medical examination (IME). An IME is conducted by a licensed doctor of medicine (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (OD), typically one with medical knowledge or training in the specific area relating to the matter, and with knowledge in the area of IMEs.

While this type of examination is named “independent,” you will want to understand that most personal injury attorneys will tell you that in practice, the IME is anything besides independent. In many cases, the insurance company will have a pre-existing connection with the doctor conducting the IME, and it is also common for the IME report to be skewed against the injured individual.

When it comes to the timing and procedure of an IME, generally:

  • the defendant or insurance company must give the injured person reasonable notice of the time, manner, location, and scope of the examination
  • unless there is good cause for further exams, only one IME is usually permitted
  • the defendant or insurance company must pay for the IME, and
  • the independent medical examiner must be available to be cross-examined by the plaintiff’s personal injury attorney at deposition or trial.

How can I prepare for the IME?

It is critical to come prepared with your IME—especially when going through an IME connecting to an insurance suit. You should be punctual and bring any applicable medical records with you. Your attorney will thoroughly equip you for the examination. If you are not accompanied by an attorney and are submitting to an IME requested by an insurance company, it is advisable to keep responses very brief, meaning answer “yes” or “no” if you are able. Nevertheless, do not be problematic or unresponsive. Answer questions honestly and be sure to get all your health complications on the record when it comes to the accident and your consequential injuries.

Contact Our Experienced Ulster County Firm

If you require legal representation for personal injury matters in New York, contact John A. DeGasperis, Esq. to schedule an initial consultation to learn more about our services and how we can assist your upcoming legal process.