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Independent Medical Exams in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Posted on September 23, 2012 by Fast Lawsuit Team

You have suffered from whiplash due to a rear-end collision. Or, your back has been troubling you ever since that slip and fall incident while you were at the mall.  Or, you are currently left depressed and traumatized by a botched operation.

These are just some of the reasons why people file a personal injury lawsuit. You have the recourse to file a claim for compensation from the party who was at fault. The compensation will cover not just the financial losses you have incurred because of the accident but also the pain, trauma and suffering you had to endure as a result of your injuries.

When you have filed a personal injury lawsuit, you are putting your physical injuries in question. You will need to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the challenge. You need to prove the extent of the injuries you sustained. On the other hand, the party you are suing would also like to show that your injuries are not as serious as you claim. The other party may call for an independent medical examination so that they can also verify your physical condition.

What is an Independent Medical Examination?

The Independent Medical Examination is presumably an opinion of an objective doctor about the real state of your health. However, it can also be considered as the medical examination that the other party has commissioned. The argument is that the doctor who has been treating you may have some bias as to reporting your physical condition. The defense will call for another doctor to “verify” the state of your health.

There are times when you will be required to go to the IME. The need to go to the IME may vary from state to state. However, there will also be instances where a complainant cannot be forced to go to an IME if this will be too burdensome if he is already suffering from serious injuries. The defense will shoulder the expense for any IMEs that they request; as such, they can also choose which doctor will perform the IME.

The IME will be scheduled and a letter will be sent to you outlining when and where this will be. It will also state the doctor who will perform the IME, including his specialty, as well as the scope of the IME. The letter may also include a request for your medical records and diagnostic test results.

The IME may be stressful to you, especially if you are already in pain and still have not recovered from your injuries. It will be helpful to come prepared to avoid further stress:

  • Consult your lawyer. Your lawyer will guide you through the process and may have helpful advice for you. This includes avoiding discussions of things that are not pertinent to the IME, such as how the lawsuit settlement negotiations are going, your opinion of the degree of liability of the other party and so on. In some instances, your lawyer may also accompany you.
  • Come prepared. If there is a request for your medical records, be sure to bring them. Also, come early. It will also be helpful to bring a companion who will take notes of the questions the doctor asks and the tests he performs.
  • Be honest. Provide the information with regards to your medical condition.
  • Don’t expect the report to be in your favor. Even if there are medical examiners that are professional about providing these reports, you need to remember that these are hired by the defense. Thus, don’t be surprised when the report tries to minimize the extent of your injuries. You can contest the results, depending on your lawyer’s advice.

Qualified Independent Medical Examiners

The defense could not just appoint any doctor they wish. There are rules governing the appointment of an examiner. These include:
-  The IME doctor must be practicing his profession – where most of his professional time is spent in the treatment of the patients, rather than in giving IMEs and testimonies.
-  The IME doctor must be certified, and posses the same level of education (or higher) as the doctor who treats you
-  You and your lawyer can also investigate how much the doctor is earning from defense law firms and insurance companies

The doctor will check for the following:

  • Your general appearance and the extent of your injuries. This will include how you walk and stand, whether you have difficulty getting on or off the examination table and indications of the existence of the injury.
  • Manifestations of injury. The doctor will look at both objective and subjective manifestations of injury. The doctor will look into medical reports and diagnostic test results such as CT scans, x-rays or MRIs. The doctor will look at the level of pain you are suffering and how this limits your movement.
  • The cause of your injuries. The doctor will check whether it is indeed the incident that caused the injury and not anything else. For instance, he will look into your lifestyle, whether you use drugs, are a habitual alcohol drinker or smoker, or you indulge in dangerous or hazardous sports. He will also try to see whether your actions (or inaction) exacerbated the injury. Other things that the doctor will look into include: recreational and social activities, prior sports accidents, any pre-existing condition,
  • Whether these injuries are legitimate. The medical examiner will also look for indications that you have exaggerated the injury or if there are signs of malingering. The doctor will check how your daily living and recreational activities were affected because of the injuries and any restrictions imposed by doctors.
  • The possibility of recovery (whether your injuries can be cured and the patient can make a full recovery and resume normal day-to-day living)
  • Your employment prospects (whether you can work again or not). This includes the type of physical work you can do with the restrictions imposed, as well as what skills you already have are transferrable after the injury.

Lawsuit Funding

As you can see, the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit and proving it may be a drawn-out and difficult time. This is especially true if you are being financially drained, not just by expenses related to the case, but also with medical expenses. You may also have to leave work during your recovery.  This is where lawsuit funding can help.

A lawsuit cash advance can help you provide the funds for your complete recovery, even as you fight for your fair and just compensation in court. Sometimes, the other party will try to negotiate for an out-of-court settlement as well. With the money you receive from the lawsuit loan, you will not be forced towards accepting a low settlement offer just because you are in dire need of cash. is your provider of choice when it comes to trustworthy settlement funding. Its streamlined application process ensures that you don’t have to go through hoops just to get the funds. Once your application is approved, you can readily get the proceeds of the lawsuit funding in as quickly as 24 hours.

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