An Independent Medical Exam (IME) is a physical assessment that an insurance company may require you undergo as part of its claim determination process. While the requirements for such an exam may vary based on a claimant’s disability contract, it is important to note that most policies contain a clause allowing the insurance company to order such an exam.
While these exams are supposed to be impartial, many clients complain that the doctors are far from impartial and sometimes spend little to no time actually examining you.
Even though they can sometimes seem unfair, an IME is an important step in determining whether your long term disability insurance company approves or denies your disability claim. As such, it is important to know what to expect from this exam, in addition to how a long term disability attorney can help you both before and after your IME takes place.
What to expect on the date of your IME
On the date of your IME, the doctor will likely begin by conducting a patient interview to learn more about the history of your accident and current medical condition. Once this is complete, the exam portion of your IME will occur. Be wary that while the doctor is conducting this exam, he/she will likely be looking for a variety of factors as they pertain to your condition. Some of these factors include:
- General Appearance – apart from your weight, hygiene, and dress, it is very likely that the doctor performing the IME will also takes notes on how you sit, stand, and walk around the exam room, and whether you have any difficulty performing these simple movements.
- Signs of Deception or Malingering – it should be expected that throughout the IME, the doctor will be closely monitoring you for any signs or suggestions that run contradictory to your claims or make it appear you are exaggerating your injuries.
- Objective Testing – this includes any MRI reports, CT scans, or EMG nerve conduction studies, among other tests, that were done prior to your IME. In addition to evaluating the results of these tests, the doctor will work to determine whether they corroborate your reported injuries.
- Subjective Complaints – depending on your condition, the doctor may have you perform a series of test to report any pain, discomfort, or sensitivity.
- Surveillance – sometimes when claimants over-report their symptoms, the long term disability insurer will chose to hire a private investigator to conduct surveillance on you. This normally happens when either you or your doctors over-report what your physical capacities are when completing claim forms. For example, if you tell your long term disability insurer that you cannot drive, but drive yourself to the exam and are depicted running errands after the appointment when you tell the insurer you rarely leave the house, they may try to use the surveillance to question the legitimacy of your claim.
How an attorney can help
An experienced short and long term disability attorney, like the ones at Murray Law Office, can help you successfully navigate your IME and, at the very least, give you a free consultation to put your mind at ease prior to your exam. Further, a disability attorney can advise you on whether anyone else may be present in the exam room, whether or not you are able to document the exam yourself, and what tests or procedures he/she would not like you to not participate in. Additionally, if you believe the final IME report to be unfair, your attorney will help you determine the best steps moving forward.
If you have an upcoming IME or would like to learn more about the disability process, do not hesitate to contact one of the long term disability attorneys at Murray Law Office.