Georgia Auto Accidents – Understanding the Independent Medical Examination (IME)
When automobile accidents result in injuries, seeking medical treatment serves not only to stabilize and heal an injury, but also to document that your injuries were the result of the accident. If you believe another person is responsible for causing the accident, medical records help document and prove the injuries you sustained from the incident. There are situations where you may be asked to undergo what's called an "independent medical examination (IME)." Another driver's insurance carrier (or even your own) may request that you undergo an IME in order to confirm whether or not your injuries may be related to the automobile accident you were involved in. It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney before undergoing an IME as the results could have a significant effect on the outcome of your case.
What is the IME and What Should I Expect?
An IME is an independent medical examination. The purpose of the IME is to obtain an impartial analysis of the injured person's medical condition and whether or not the injuries suffered are related to an automobile accident or other type of incident. An IME is sometimes utilized in personal injury cases and more commonly, workers' compensation cases, where it is necessary to assess the severity of the workplace injury to determine the benefits for which the injured employee is eligible. IME's are often requested by insurance companies. However, sometimes your own lawyer will request an IME to help prove your case when an insurance company questions the validity or seriousness of your injuries.
When it comes to automobile accidents, an IME may never be requested or required. However, in situations where an IME is requested, any injured person should be prepared for what to expect. The independent medical physician is supposed to be as impartial as possible, favoring neither the insurance company nor the injured individual. Although in many cases, the medical professional conducting the IME concludes that a person's injuries were caused by his or her incident, there are situations where injured people feel as though the IME was not impartial at all, such as when the IME physician finds that the injuries are not related to a particular accident or incident.
Given that an IME can be very important to the success or failure of any personal injury or worker's compensation case, it is a good idea to consider getting the advice of a skilled lawyer who can protect your rights and interests should you be asked to submit to an IME. Many people are nervous about the IME, and understandably so. Your skilled lawyer can work with the insurance company to agree on a list of possible doctors to make sure that you see an impartial physician. This is important since many doctors regularly perform large numbers of IME's and insurance examinations constitute a significant part of their practices. When undergoing an IME, steps you can take to protect yourself include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Take mental notes during and written notes immediately following the examination, documenting what the physician said and did;
- Have a trusted family member or friend with you during the examination to serve as a witness as to the examination;
- Request a copy of your medical records at the conclusion of the visit; and
- Be honest with the doctor performing the IME and tell him or her each and every one of your symptoms so that the doctor really understands your condition.
Each person's situation will be different, and one IME may go smoothly, while another may not. Whatever injuries you or a loved one has suffered, you deserve to have an impartial evaluation of your medical condition following an automobile accident. While there can never be guarantees in any case, working with a compassionate attorney can provide you peace of mind in knowing that someone else is advocating on your behalf.
Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Legal Experience to Work For Your Case!
Whether you are injured, speaking with an attorney can help you understand your legal rights as well as the actions necessary to preserve your rights. Our experienced and compassionate auto accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates represent those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.
No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.