Are Independent Medical Examinations Really Independent?

Madeleine Jones
January 25, 2017

When an insurance company requires that an injured person submit to an “independent medical exam” (IME) by a doctor of the company’s choosing, the exam is anything but independent. Just because the insurance company calls it an independent medical exam, that does not mean it actually is an objective and unbiased examination. Often, the doctor performing the examinations is hired by the insurance company to find justification for denying the claim or reducing the claim amount. Nevada has specific laws regarding work-related injuries and injury claims. If you or a family member was seriously injured in an accident, call a Las Vegas personal injury lawyer at Cogburn Law today for a free case consultation.

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Insurance companies and IMEs

Insurance companies know that injured people want the often tiresome process of filing a personal injury claim to end as quickly as possible. Injured parties may be unable to work and in need of the financial compensation just to cover basic expenses. The insurance company wants cases closed quickly, too. However, they also want to save as much money as possible at the same time. The insurance company is paying the fee of the doctor who is conducting the IME. To save money, insurance companies use the same doctors over and over again for their IMEs. Many doctors market their services to and solicit business from insurance companies, knowing that they will not get ongoing business if their reports do not favor the insurance company.

Preparing for an IME

The Nevada Department of Administration Risk Management provides links to necessary forms for reporting a workers’ compensation injury. Our accident lawyers in Las Vegas advise injured parties to be aware that doctors performing their IME have done many such exams previously. Some doctors work exclusively for insurance companies. As such, the doctor will be looking for anything that can be used to deny the claim. Injured parties should be polite and pleasant to the examining doctor, but not engage in chit-chat or volunteer any information. They should answer the doctor’s questions clearly and honestly. Everything done at the doctor’s office will most likely be monitored and recorded by the doctor and staff. It is a good idea for individuals to write down as much as they can remember about what was said and done during the doctor visit just as soon as he or she returns to their vehicle. They should also obtain copies of any forms filled out or signed. The staff will most likely not offer or retain any copies for the patient. The doctor and their staff are being paid by the insurance company.