What Is An IME and Why is the Defendant Requesting You Have One in Florida?
Let’s say that you have been in an accident. You have gotten a lot of medical treatment, and seen more doctors than you can count. But now, your attorney tells you something surprising: That the other side wants you to see their doctor. Can they do that?
What is an IME?
In fact, the other side in your case can compel you to go to their doctor, for what is known as an Independent Medical Examination, or IME. The Defendant can’t force you to continue to treat with their doctor, or to leave your doctor to go treat with theirs—this is just a one-time, single evaluation of your medical health, by a doctor of the other side’s choosing. Florida Statute 440.13(5) deals with IME’s.
Not Truly Independent
Despite the name, an IME is hardly “independent.” The doctor you will visit likely won’t conduct any in-depth examination, or subject you to any procedures; but he or she will render an opinion as to your medical condition, and you can bet it will be an opinion that is as favorable to the other side as possible—that is, a report that says that you have healed, or that you aren’t that injured, or that your injuries are not as severe as you—and your treating doctor—say they are.
The IME doctor may try to blame your injuries on anything other than the accident, such as aging, sports injuries, or perhaps an injury that you may have suffered many years beforehand.
This doctor may seem very friendly towards you, but he or she works for or gets continuing work from the Defendant or its insurance company. He or she gets hundreds of victims every year for these one-time evaluations.
The doctor therefore has an inherent motivation to render an opinion that is most favorable to them, and less favorable to you. You can imagine that any doctor who says that a victim is “terribly injured,” would likely not get a lot of continuing work from that Defendant or insurance company.
This IME doctor also is seeing you only one time—he or she does not have the ongoing, continuing relationship with you that your own doctor has.
Unlike with your doctor, you have no privacy or confidentiality between you and this IME doctor. So, the IME doctor will, after evaluating you, write a report that the other side will use against you in court. That report will include anything that you have told that doctor during your one-time visit.
Your injury attorney will prepare you for exactly what to expect during your IME, if one is requested (they are not requested in every case). In some cases, you may have the right to videotape your IME, to make sure what you say to the doctor actually ends up in the medical report.
Call the Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys at Rosen Injury Law today so you know what to expect in your injury case.