Buffalo, New York, Car Accident Lawyers Explain: What Is An IME?
The idea of attending an Independent Medical Examination (IME) after receiving a notice that you must attend may be intimidating. However, by better understanding what they entail, your uneasiness will fade away and you will likely obtain a more favorable result. As such, the Buffalo, New York personal injury lawyers of the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. have dedicated this page to help victims of personal injury accidents prepare for their IMEs.
An IME is a medical examination performed by an impartial examiner who is a qualified specialist in the field of medicine that correlates with the injuries that you suffered and treatment that you sought after an accident. In other words, this is not one of your treating physicians. It is important that the doctor chosen has no familiarity with the plaintiff and has never treated them in the past. The purpose of an IME is to obtain an impartial medical examination of the plaintiff, which can be used to determine the need for (or lack of a need for) further treatment, or be used as evidence in various legal disputes such as disability claims, product liability claims and personal injury lawsuits.
Under New York Civil Practice Law and Rules Article 31, Section 3121, if the plaintiff’s physical or mental condition is at issue, a party to a lawsuit has the right to request an impartial examination of the plaintiff in the form of an IME. In addition, as a policy condition to your automobile insurance policy, your No-Fault insurance carrier has a right to send you to an IME. Importantly, in most cases if a claimant fails to attend two No-Fault IMEs, their future benefits will be denied.
The IME will provide a written report with their objective findings and opinions regarding the condition of the plaintiff and the extent of their injuries. In addition, they will review medical records from the plaintiff’s treating physicians and provide commentary on the plaintiff’s diagnosis, causation of the plaintiff’s injuries or condition, current treatment plan, need for future treatment, expected recovery time, and disability status.
While the purpose of an IME is to provide for an impartial assessment of the plaintiff’s condition, this is rarely the case. Most insurance companies and defense attorneys tend to employ the same doctors, time and time again, which can influence the doctor’s impartiality. In addition, insurance companies and defense attorneys often select doctors to perform IMEs who tend to deny that a plaintiff has a need for further treatment or who often opine that the plaintiff’s injuries are not causally related to the accident.
Since 1999, Jed Dietrich, Esq. has exclusively handled serious personal injury cases. Throughout the years, Jed Dietrich, Esq. has successfully represented countless accident victims, and has collected over $175,000,000.00 in verdicts and settlements to compensate his clients for their serious personal injuries. Contact Jed Dietrich, Esq. and his team of aggressive, tenacious and hardworking Buffalo, New York personal injury attorneys today at 716-839-3939 for your free consultation. We are available 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, and there is never a fee unless we WIN for you!
It is important to keep in mind that IME doctors are hired by insurance companies or defense lawyers to support their cases—not yours. With this in mind, the best way to prepare for your IME is to:
- Go Prepared: Bring a list of your treating physicians, symptoms, dates of surgeries and restrictions. Provide the doctor with your diagnostic images or other medical reports that they request. Be ready to discuss your medical history, prior injuries and difficulties that your current injuries are causing.
- Arrive on Time: Plan ahead of time and know the address, where to park and be mindful of traffic. Arriving late to your appointment may result in a doctor’s refusal to see you, which could have serious consequences.
- Maintain a Positive Attitude: Try not to take the doctor’s questions personally, they are just doing their job. Do not be hostile and try to cooperate as much as possible with the doctor and staff.
- Be Honest: Honesty is always the best course of action. If you fake or embellish an injury during the exam, the doctor may recognize your dishonesty and make a note of it on his or her report. This includes intentionally or unintentionally exaggerating any symptoms or restricting your movements. You should make every attempt to be open and forthcoming by giving helpful and candid answers.
- Stay Relaxed: By staying calm you will be able to collect your thoughts so you are better able to provide your medical history in an accurate, concise and complete manner.
- Remember, Actions Speak Louder than Words: Everything you do at their office could be scrutinized and noted by the doctor and staff. Be aware of the doctor trying to incorporate simple activities, such as removing your shirt or laying down on the examining table, for the purpose of testing your mobility.
If you, or a loved one, were injured by an accident, contact the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. today at 716-839-3939. Our team of highly experienced and top rated serious accident injury attorneys in Buffalo, New York fight for the compensation that you deserve, for the injuries and financial losses that you suffered.
The doctor will likely examine and review your medical records before you arrive, including medical imaging studies such as MRIs, X-rays, EMG nerve studies and CT-scans. Additionally, the doctor will evaluate whether your injuries are consistent with your pain and discomfort. Doctors also conduct patient interviews to find out important details regarding the accident and injuries, in an attempt to understand the true extent of your injuries.
The doctor will most likely ask you about any lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking and drug use, which he or she believes could have contributed to your injury or decelerated recovery.
Below is a list of subjects that the doctor will most likely inquire about:
- Your complete medical history, including all severe preceding injuries;
- How exactly your injury or condition occurred;
- What parts of your body were injured;
- Your primary and secondary symptoms;
- When you feel the most pain from your injuries;
- Activities or movements that trigger pain or discomfort and further aggravate your injuries;
- Treatment and medications that have improved your injuries or alleviated the pain; and
- Ways that your work has been impacted or restricted by your injuries and pain.
WERE YOU, OR A LOVED ONE, INJURED AS A RESULT OF AN ACCIDENT IN BUFFALO, NIAGARA FALLS, ROCHESTER OR OTHER PARTS OF NEW YORK STATE?
CALL JED DIETRICH, ESQ. AND HIS TOP RATED AND HIGHLY EXPERIENCED TEAM OF BUFFALO, NEW YORK PERSONAL INJURY ACCIDENT ATTORNEYS AT 716-839-3939 NOW TO OBTAIN THE HELP THAT YOU NEED!
Although some doctors remain professional and provide completely objective evaluations, some of them know that the insurance company or defense attorney are the ones compensating them and that they expect the final report to improve their outcomes. Therefore, do not be overly concerned if you receive an unfair evaluation—it is more common than you may realize. While the doctor’s final report is out of your control, there are a number of things that are. Below is a list of some things to avoid during your examination:
- Avoid discussing your legal case with the examining doctor or anyone else in the doctor’s office;
- Do not answer questions that you do not fully understand;
- Avoid rushing, take your time and thoughtfully and accurately answer each question to the best of your ability;
- Do not hesitate to correct yourself if you realize that you answered a question incorrectly;
- Avoid unnecessarily elaborating on your answers to the doctor’s questions; and
- Do not participate in any activities that could further aggravate your condition or cause severe pain.
For more information regarding IMEs or any other aspects of personal injury law, please feel free to contact us today. If you, or a loved one, suffered a serious injury in an accident, contact Jed Dietrich, Esq. and his top rated team of Buffalo, New York personal injury attorneys at the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. for a free consultation. Our team is available 24 hours per day and 7 days per week, at 716-839-3939 or by filling out our online consultation form.
Call the Dietrich Law Firm P.C. immediately at 716-839-3939 so that our aggressive, tenacious and hardworking personal injury lawyers can fight to obtain the best result for your personal injury claim in Buffalo, New York. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there is never a fee until we WIN for you!