In many personal injury cases, our client is required to be examined by a doctor chosen by the defense insurance company. That examination is often referred to as an “independent medical exam,” also known as an “IME.” In most cases, there is nothing independent about the examination and the doctor is specifically hired by the defense insurance company to provide an expert opinion that the plaintiff was not hurt in the car accident, the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by other medical conditions, or the plaintiff should have gotten better much more quickly. There are times the insurance company doctor will even go so far as to accuse the plaintiff of faking his or her injuries or intentionally prolonging treatment. The examinations by the defense insurance company doctor typically last less than an hour and may only last 10 minutes. Much of the work done by the defense insurance doctor is a comprehensive review of the injured person’s medical records to see if there are other potential causes for the injuries.
Independent medical exams also occur in worker’s compensation cases. An interesting article exploring this practice appeared in the Post Crescent on Sunday, January 21, 2018, http://www.postcrescent.com/story/news/investigations/2018/01/22/dueling-doctors-muddle-compensation-claims/1041800001/.