If you were injured in an auto accident and are in the midst of an auto accident lawsuit, then you should learn all about independent medical evaluations (IME).
Even when an auto accident victim has been visiting their own physicians on a regular basis before an auto accident civil suit, the defendant may request an independent medical evaluation of the victim to determine if an additional physician agrees with the plaintiff's doctor's opinion about the injuries suffered during the auto accident and the treatment needed for the injuries.
Read on to learn three additional facts that all auto accident victims should know about independent medical evaluations.
1. The Auto Insurance Company Does Not Always Choose the IME Doctor
You do not have to seek out a doctor to perform an independent medical evaluation. Instead, the defendant, which is typically the auto insurance company, recruits a physician that they think is qualified to provide an unbiased opinion about the injuries you suffered during your accident and the treatment needed for them.
However, if you or your attorney have reason to believe that the insurance company will not choose an unbiased physician, some states allow an auto accident victim or their attorney to request a state-appointed IME physician instead of allowing the insurance company to choose the IME.
2. This Physician Is Not Bound to a Patient-Doctor Confidentiality Agreement
Unlike information that you share with your personal physicians, the information you provide the independent medical evaluator can be shared with others because you will not have a patient-doctor confidentiality agreement with this physician.
However, since this physician needs an abundance of information about your personal health and injuries you have suffered before, during, and after the auto accident, they will ask you many questions and will likely ask to see your medical records.
While refusing to cooperate with an IME physician due to healthcare privacy concerns could lead to your entire claim being denied, you should be aware of your rights when providing health information to this physician. For example, if they request copies of medical records that you and your attorney do not think are relevant to your auto injury case, you can choose to not share those records with the IME.
3. You and Your Attorney Can Challenge the Evaluation Results
If the IME does not agree with your personal physician about the injuries you have suffered and/or the treatments you need for the injuries, then you, your attorney, and your doctor can challenge the IME's final report.
If this challenge is denied, remember that the judge will also take your physician's findings into account when making their final decision about your case to keep their decision fair.
Every auto accident victim should understand what an independent medical evaluation is in the event that they are asked to visit one during their auto accident civil case. Keep these three facts in mind if the auto insurance company requests evaluation with an IME.