If you have been injured in a Central Florida car accident and are making a claim for medical expenses through your no-fault a/k/a PIP insurance, your insurance company may send you a letter requiring you to attend an independent medical examination or IME, with a doctor of its choosing.
The insurance company has the right to make this request under the terms of your insurance policy and section 7 of the PIP statute, which says:
Whenever the mental or physical condition of an injured person covered by personal injury protection is material to any claim that has been or may be made for past or future personal injury protection insurance benefits, such person shall, upon the request of an insurer, submit to mental or physical examination by a physician or physicians
There are some rules to these exams. First, you are entitled to reasonable notice so you can coordinate your schedule. Second, the exam has to be held in the area where you already receive treatment or in close proximity to your home.
If an attorney represents you for your accident claim, you should bring a copy of the notice into their office and discuss the exam. You should also bring a copy of the notice into your treating physician so he/she knows of the examination.
Purpose of the Independent Medical Exam
In my opinion, these exams are not independent. Most doctors who perform these exams have a stream of income coming from the insurance company or its vendor, and because of human nature, have an ingrained bias.
Tips for the Independent Medical Exam
Below are a few tips that will assist you during the examination process:
Be Courteous During the Exam
Do not go into the doctor’s office with an attitude. You will definitely not get the benefit of the doubt if you are a curmudgeon.
Be Honest with the Examining Doctor
Many people in this situation feel like they need to protect themselves by exaggerating the facts, or by hiding details they feel do not help them. While this inclination is understandable, DO NOT DO IT! Always be honest with the doctor about your current injuries, as well as your past medical history and prior accidents.
Be Precise and Concise
People who have been injured, or who are experiencing pain because of injuries they have suffered, should always be as precise as they can when describing the nature of their pain and problems. This doesn’t mean that you have to walk into the office and say, “I have a disc herniation at C5-6 that is causing a C-6 radiculopathy on the right.” However, you can say, “I’ve been told that I have a disc problem in my neck or a slipped disc that is causing pain in my neck that travels down my arm.”
Document the Time of the Accident
It is also a good idea to document the time that you arrived at the doctor’s office, and the actual time that the doctor spent on the examination. If the doctor spent 5 minutes with you and generated a 15-page report; something isn’t right.
Finally, if you have any questions about a Central Florida car accident, and you are concerned about your upcoming PIP IME, call a Leesburg car accident attorney at 352-267-9168 to get your questions answered.