INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAM: I was injured in a California motor vehicle accident that was not my fault, and now my own insurance company was me to submit to an Independent Medical Exam (IME) by a doctor it chooses. Do I have to go to this IME?

In most cases, yes. Your insurance company, has the contractual right to have you examined and to have your treatment reviewed by another medical professional.  In California, this right can be triggered through your Medical Pay coverage, or if you have a claim for Uninsured Motorist.   Insurance companies call these one-time examinations "Independent Medical Exams" or "IME's." This is misleading however-- they should really be titled "Insurance Medical Exams" because insurance companies use these one-time exams (or in some cases, a one-time medical records review) as a way to terminate potential insurance benefits regardless of whether you are still benefiting from additional treatment. Insurance companies use "IME's" to save them money by doing so, and their medical examiners are often "hired medical defense guns" willing to offer the right medical opinion to justify this biased goal.  I speak in detail on IME's in one of my videos entitled (IME) located in the video center.

Here are a few suggestions if your own insurance company is requesting an IME of you:

1.  First, before submitting to an independent medical exam, read your auto policy! The insurance company's right to request an exam is contained within the insurance contract you have with them. Review it to make sure the company is not violating any of the policy provisions.

2.  Second, you really should consider either consulting or hiring an experienced attorney. Attorneys can often insist that the exam be delayed and insist that an impartial observer be present during the exam.

3.  Third, make sure you give the examiner an accurate description of your prior health problems, current complaints, and the facts of the accident that produced your injuries. Any discrepancies will be used against you (you can count on that).

4.  Fourth, be mindful that the examiner will be looking for all signs that you are not injured -- how you walk into the examination room, how you sit, how long you sit, facial expressions, etc. 

5.  Fifth, consider bringing a nurse with you as a nurse trained in IME's can monitor the session, and make sure it is going according to the IME guidelines.   If you have an attorney, the attorney will sometimes pay for this cost to make sure it is done properly and he or she can call the nurse as a witness later if the case moves to trial, mediation or arbitration.

More Legal Qestions About Car & Motorcycle Accidents?

Do you have more legal questions about car & motorcycle accident cases?  Return to the Auto & Motorcycle accidents in California Frequently Asked Legal Questions page.