When it comes to personal injury claims after an accident, there are typically a lot of different things going on. At first, things might look like they are going smoothly, but then accusations about your injury start to fly around, and suddenly the insurance claims adjuster is asking you to take an independent medical exam. However, you should always know that an independent medical exam is never independent. You are going to their recommended doctor who has likely in the past agreed with their accusations. So if an independent medical exam is not independent, do you actually have to go?
Yes, and also no. What it really depends on is where your personal injury claim is at in its processing.
When Do You Have to Have an IME?
There is only one stage in a personal injury case where you will have to have an IME, and that is if or when it proceeds to the lawsuit stage. When you have to go to court over a claim, the plaintiff (that’s you!) has to attend at least one independent medical exam at the defendant’s request according to federal court rules.
However, during legal proceedings you may have to comply to more than one exam. Essentially, the defendant has the right to request an IME for each individual injury that is filed for complaint. So it you are having back problems and have a broken arm, you will have to do two IMEs if they so choose, calling in a specialist for each injury.
What If You Choose Not to Go Anyway?
The answer is simple. Your case will be dismissed for not complying with court rules and you will get nothing. The good news is that the defendant can’t just keep sending you to new doctors in order to get a favorable analysis. They can only send you to one doctor for each injury. The only exception is if a court case drags on for a long period of time, they can ask you to go to an independent medical exam against to assess the seriousness of your injury.
When Don’t You Have to Accept an IME Request?
If your case is not in court or preparing to go to court, you have absolutely no obligation to accept an IME request. Since an injury claim, unlike an injury lawsuit, is not governed by court rules, no insurance company can force you to get an exam by one of their doctors. One popular trick that claim adjusters use is to tell you that they might be more willing to settle if you get an IME, but definitely don’t believe them. If anything, they will use that exam to give you significantly less.
While you might be willing to do the exam just to prove the extent of your injury, it is highly unlikely that those doctors will really report just how injured you are, they will just build the ammunition against you. Plus if the case does go to court, they just get yet another IME to make you endure. So if your case is going to court eventually, you don’t have to accept until the legal proceedings actually begin.
If you have been the victim of an injury at work or otherwise that requires a personal injury claim, even if it doesn’t seem that serious, you need an attorney to make sure you are protected. After all, worker’s compensation is only paid out if the worker wins the case. Contact us to make sure you do win and don’t get taken advantage of. If you got hurt at work, you deserve your justice.
Contact A Mankato Workers' Compensation Lawyer Today
Contact the law office of Chesley, Harvey & Carpenter today at (507) 625-3000 for a free case review. We are located in Mankato, Minnesota.