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Legal Blog

What is an Independent Medical Examination?

If you’ve been injured in an accident that was caused by another party’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. In most personal injury cases, compensation will be paid by the at-fault party’s insurance company. For this reason, it is common for insurance companies to have the party seeking compensation to undergo an independent medical examination (IME). IMEs can be required by the insurance policy itself or compelled by court order in a personal injury lawsuit when the defendant has established good cause for obtaining the IME.

Are IMEs Really Independent?

The purpose of the independent medical examination (IME) is to have a medical professional, other than the injured party’s treating physician, verify the existence, nature, and scope of the victim’s claimed injuries. Though IMEs are intended to be independent, it is usually the insurance company or requesting party that pays for and selects the examining physician.

This can create a potential bias on the part of the medical professional conducting the IME, which is why it is important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you understand and prepare for the IME process.

What Can You Expect from an Independent Medical Exam?

An IME must be performed by a qualified medical professional, which normally means an M.D. or D.O. Generally speaking, the examining health care professional should have medical knowledge and/or training in the specific area that is the subject of the case and experience or training in conducting IMEs.

The purpose of the IME is to obtain information, not provide medical treatment or make a diagnosis. For this reason, an IME will typically involve a patient interview, review of medical records, and a physical examination. In order to make a good impression, it is important for the injured party to be well groomed, arrive early for the examination, and be courteous to the examining physician. The injured party will also need to be prepared to answer questions regarding their medical history and current physical condition.

The examining doctor will consider a variety of factors in the IME process including, but not limited to:

  • The general physical appearance along with the physical and verbal behavior of the examinee throughout the examination
  • Any objective or subjective observations of injury that correlate with physical findings or functional test results
  • Potential contributing factors such as pre-existing conditions or lifestyle factors (e.g. smoking, weight)
  • Objective data such imaging tests

After the IME is complete, the physician will prepare a report with a summary of his or her findings, which both parties will have the right to review.

Experienced Representation for Your Houston Personal Injury Case

When you have been injured in a serious accident due to another person’s negligence, it is in your best interest to contact a personal injury attorney as early as possible. At the Krist Law Firm, P.C, we can answer any questions you may have about independent medical examination process and help you secure the compensation you deserve.

Our talented team of Houston personal injury attorneys has more than four decades of experience representing accident victims and we will fight to obtain the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. We have handled a wide variety of personal injury cases involving:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Commercial trucking accidents
  • Maritime accidents
  • Offshore drilling injuries
  • Petrochemical industry accidents
  • Aviation accidents
  • Aerospace accidents
  • Defective and dangerous products
  • Dangerous premises

To learn more about how our skilled Houston personal injury lawyers can help with your personal injury case, contact us today at (281) 283-8500 for a free consultation. You won’t owe us a single fee until we have secured a recovery on your behalf.