Why Is the Insurance Company Asking You To Undergo an Adverse Medical Exam?
In Minnesota, crash victims can seek certain forms of compensation from their own insurance companies. Some victims may think they are more likely to recover full compensation if they are dealing with their own insurance company.
Unfortunately, your insurance company is likely to employ the same tactics as any other. They are going to look for any reason to dispute the severity or existence of your injuries. That is why they often request that you undergo an adverse medical exam, also called an independent medical examination.
TSR Injury Law’s experienced attorneys explain what you need to know about independent medical exams after Minneapolis car crashes, including whether you are required to attend.
Contact us to discuss legal options after a Minneapolis car crash: (612) TSR-TIME.
What Is an Independent Medical Examination?
A request for an independent medical exam (IME), or adverse medical exam, may sound innocent enough. The insurance company may tell you they just want to confirm your treating doctor’s evaluation of your injury.
The word “independent” can also give crash victims a false impression, making it sound like the exam is merely an attempt to get an objective assessment of your injuries.
The truth is the doctor who performs the evaluation is anything but independent. Insurance companies select doctors who are likely to have a different opinion about your injuries than your treating doctor. Some of these doctors make a lot of money conducting these evaluations. Insurance companies hire them over and over because their opinions support insurers’ interests.
The doctor picked by the insurance company is likely to say your injuries are not as severe as your treating doctor claims. The doctor may even deny the existence of an injury or say you have a condition that existed before the crash.
The insurance company may also try to use the evaluation to attack your credibility.
When Do Insurance Companies Usually Request These Evaluations?
Some insurance policies require victims to undergo an independent medical exam in order to continue receiving treatment and having their bills paid. However, insurers may also request these exams in third-party claims when an injured person makes a claim against the at fault driver’s policy.
If the insurance company does not offer the compensation you need, your lawyer may need to file a lawsuit. After the suit is filed, the liable insurance company may request an independent medical exam while both sides are preparing for trial.
Insurance companies are more likely to request an adverse medical examination when victims are seeking significant compensation for long-term injuries.
Do I Have To Attend the Exam?
Sometimes you may be required to attend and other times you may not. For example, you are often required contractually to attend if you are filing a no-fault claim. There are limitations and the request must be “reasonable.” If you file a lawsuit against the at fault party’s insurer, you will be required to attend with few exceptions.
You should not take the insurance company at their word about whether you are required to attend. Even if they do not say you are required to attend the exam, they might tell you it will allow them to process your claim more quickly. However, it is important to keep in mind that their goal is to settle your claim for far less than it is worth, or for nothing at all.
If you are unsure about whether you are required to attend the exam, you should call an experienced Minneapolis car crash lawyer who can determine your legal rights. One of the benefits of calling a lawyer early in the process is that he or she can deal with the insurance company from that point forward. You will not need to worry about what to do when the insurance company calls or how to answer their questions.
Preparing For an Independent Medical Examination
Another advantage of being represented by an experienced lawyer is that he or she can make sure you are prepared for an independent medical exam. He or she can explain what happens during the exam and what to expect after it is done.
Getting Ready To Go To the Exam
It is important to dress well for the exam. That does not mean you need to wear a suit, but you need to look like you are taking the situation seriously. Avoid wearing worn or ripped clothing or a lot of jewelry. Women should avoid wearing high heels, as the doctor may think your injuries are not a big deal if you can walk in them.
You need to keep in mind that you may be under observation from the moment you get into the parking lot where the exam will occur. It is important to be honest about the injuries and not to exaggerate or downplay the severity.
What Happens During the Exam?
An independent medical exam should not take much more than a half hour. The doctor is going to ask you a series of questions about your injuries, perform a physical examination and write a report. Some of the questions you may be asked include:
- How have doctors treated your injuries?
- Do you have any prior injuries from work, recreational activities or other accidents?
- Have you completely recovered?
- Do you have any long-term disabilities?
- How much time have you missed from work?
- How did the crash happen?
- How much pain do you feel each day? What causes you pain?
Even though the doctor may be looking for some reason to downplay your injuries, you should still be respectful and polite. Provide honest answers to the doctor’s questions, but be concise and do not exaggerate, as this can hurt your credibility. Make sure not to ramble or provide unnecessary information.
When the examination is over, the doctor may ask you to sign some paperwork. However, you should tell the doctor to send the paperwork to your lawyer for review.
What Happens Afterward?
When you get home, you should take notes about the examination. Write down what you were asked, what the doctor said and anything else you remember that you think may be important. Make sure to share your notes and observations with your lawyer, so he or she will have a better idea of how the exam went.
What if You Get a Bad IME Report? Can You Challenge It?
No matter how well you prepare, the IME doctor’s report may conflict with the evaluation of your treating doctor. Your lawyer can dispute the IME report and file a no-fault arbitration with the American Arbitration Association. TSR Injury Law has won thousands of these no-fault hearings by gathering evidence to back your claim, which can include:
- Records from treating doctors
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Statements from expert witnesses
- Entries from the injured victim’s journal documenting pain and other symptoms
- Explaining the law to the arbitrator that matches the client’s situation
Contact TSR for Legal Assistance After a Crash
Is the insurance company demanding you attend an adverse medical exam?
You need to know your rights in this type of situation, which is why it is important to contact a licensed attorney who has significant experience with Minnesota car crash claims.
At TSR, we have been helping crash victims for decades, securing millions on their behalf. Our services are provided on contingency, so there are no upfront fees and no fees while we work on your case.
Need legal help following a car crash injury? Contact us today: (612) TSR-TIME.