How Insurance Companies Use Independent Medical Examinations to Their Advantage
We all have automobile insurance to protect us from the unexpected. In the case of a car crash, the policy of the at-fault driver should provide you with the compensation you will need to recover your medical bills, the cost of treatment and rehabilitation, lost property, and lost wages.
But never lose sight of the fact that insurance companies are very profitable. One of the ways they stay profitable is to deny payments to policyholders or to undervalue the cost of your injuries when it comes time to pay out.
That explains why many insurance providers for the at-fault party will make a small offer to settle right after the accident. They may even reach out to you at the scene of the accident.
It is advised that you do not take this offer but do seek representation. The insurance provider for the at-fault party understands they will be on the hook for a more significant amount if you take them to court.
Another tactic to reduce the value of your claim is to ask you to submit to an independent medical examination.
Independent Medical Examinations May Disadvantage You
An independent medical examination is known in the industry as an IME. If a crash is not your fault, the insurance company for the other party may request that you submit to an IME before they consider approving your claim.
What’s the problem with this request?
- The Doctor – They may be biased toward the insurance company and often rely on the company as a source of income. “Independent” may not be an accurate description, and they may interpret your results with a bias toward the insurance company, minimizing the crash’s impact on your body.
- The Adjuster – Again, you face a possibility of bias from the insurance adjuster. When they look at the IME results, they could conclude that you are making false claims or exaggerating your injuries. As a result, the adjuster may decide that your injuries do not merit further treatment.
- Not About Health – You may assume that this doctor will give you a realistic, professional assessment of your health after the accident. Trust that the insurance company really doesn’t care about your health. They are concerned about their bottom line. Expect them to look for results to discredit your claim. It is not unusual for the company to blame a pre-existing condition for your injuries and determine that you do not deserve any future medical care or compensation.
- You May Say No – to an IME if your claim is not being litigated, but if it is, the insurance company has the right to order an IME. An IME may be required if you file an underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance provider.
How to Prepare for an IME
If you must undergo an IME, there are ways you can prepare for the best outcome.
First– be on time and be pleasant but do not volunteer any information unless asked. Consider bringing a friend with you to serve as a witness to any discrepancies down the road.
Second- Understand that your behavior is being monitored. Get a good night’s sleep the night before and try to act as you typically would – in other words – don’t get too excited, dramatic, or cry if you can help it.
Third – Consider bringing your medical history documents just in case there are questions about your past injuries or pre-existing conditions.
Your Alabama Personal Injury Attorney
The Law Office of J. Allan Brown has years of experience helping people injured in car or trucking crashes, suffering spinal cord injuries, premises injuries, toxic exposures, medical malpractice, or injury from fire and explosions.
In any of these scenarios, the insurance company will try to mitigate the damage to preserve its profits. Mr. Brown believes in doing what is right for you, the client. During your complimentary initial consultation, he will help you understand the aspects of the law that apply to your case and advise you on the validity of your claim.
J. Allan Brown is an experienced, compassionate, and knowledgeable attorney who will be a staunch advocate for your rights in seeking the compensation you deserve. You can arrange a meeting with Mr. Brown by calling his Mobile office at (251) 473-6691 or making an appointment online.