How Insurance Companies Use Independent Medical Examinations to Their Advantage

Automobile insurance policies are supposed to protect motorists from the unexpected. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in a Virginia car crash that was not your fault, the other driver’s policy should provide the compensation you need to recover your losses and afford any necessary medical care. However, insurance companies are still for-profit enterprises, and adjusters employ an assortment of strategies designed to keep settlement offers low, including asking accident victims to consent to an independent medical examination (IME).  When you must attend an IME

Understanding Independent Medical Examinations

Virginia automobile insurance companies may request that accident victims consent to an IME before approving a claim. However, these exams are often anything but impartial. Before consenting to an IME, you should know:

  • An IME is not always about your health. In all probability, the insurance company is not asking you to schedule an IME because they are concerned about your health. Instead, they may be looking for evidence to discredit your claim. For example, if the doctor believes your accident-related pain could be attributed to an unrelated, pre-existing condition, the adjuster might argue that you do not really deserve any additional compensation. 
  • The doctor could be biased. Insurance companies usually send claimants to the same doctors. While the examining physician may be a highly experienced practitioner, they likely recognize that they owe much of their business to the insurance company’s referrals. Consequently, the “independent” examiner may be inclined to interpret your results in a way that reflects the carrier’s best interests.
  • The adjuster could use your results against you. After your IME is complete, the insurance adjuster could scour your report for any signs of fraud or exaggeration. Even if they believe your claim is legitimate, they might still determine that your injuries do not merit any further treatment.

When an IME May Be Required

You do not always have to consent to an IME. However, under certain circumstances, you may need to undergo evaluation for your claim to proceed. For example:

  • If your claim is being litigated, the insurance company’s attorneys are entitled to request an Order of Examination.
  • If you have filed an underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance company, they may ask that you have an IME during settlement negotiations.

What to Do If You Must Have an IME

You can prepare yourself for an IME by:

  1. Waking up early and ensuring you reach the doctor’s office before your scheduled appointment
  2. Bringing a friend with you, in case there is a dispute about what happened during the examination
  3. Staying aware and realizing that the medical staff may be monitoring your behavior to see whether your physical actions correspond with your claimed injuries
  4. Retrieving and reviewing a copy of your medical history, in case the examiner asks any questions about your past injuries, disabilities, or other pre-existing conditions
  5. Being honest but not volunteering or sharing any unnecessary information

While you may have to go to an IME to advance your claim, its results do not have to dictate whether you are eligible to receive compensation for your Virginia car crash injuries. Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi have years of experience aggressively advocating for the rights of accident victims. We can help you respond to the insurance company’s demands, review your medical records, and gather additional evidence to support your claim.

Contact a Virginia Attorney Today

You should never have to bear the burden of another motorist’s negligence. Although navigating the complexities of insurance negotiations might seem challenging, Kearney, Freeman, Fogarty & Joshi can help you get the compensation you need and the justice you deserve. Please send us a message online, or call us at 877-652-1553 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

 

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