Many clients inadvertently hurt their cases and reduce their compensation during the Independent Medical Examination (IME). The IME is a tool that insurance carriers use to justify suspending payments of medical benefits or limiting treatment options in order to reduce your payout as much as possible The conducting physician is likely hand-picked by the insurance company and will be expected to help them do that. Though the exam is obligatory, avoid:
- Exaggerating Symptoms: Whether in your description or in your behavior, resist any urge to exaggerate, overplay, or hype-up your injuries. Embellishing your injuries or acting as though they are more severe will not increase the amount of money you recover. The IME doctor is not there to increase the value of your claim. You only risk getting caught in a lie, hurting your credibility before the judge or jury, and giving the insurance company ammunition to contest your payouts.
- Oversharing: You may not be advised of this, but the regular doctor-patient confidentiality does not exist with the IME physician. Anything you tell them, they can and will report back to your insurance company. This is also true of observations the doctor makes at any point before, during, or after the exam. So, answer their questions, but do not elaborate or give additional details about your current or previous injuries (or anything else!) regardless of how sympathetic the doctor may seem. As the saying goes, “anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.”