An Independent Medical Exam (IME) is an important part of every personal injury claim. Here, we’ll guide you through the steps you should take for your IME. And if you have any more questions about your personal injury case, contact us at Glacier Law Firm.
When you arrive for your appointment, you should appear in appropriate clothing. It would be unwise to show up to a doctor’s appointment for a personal injury wearing basketball shorts, or any other apparel that would suggest you’ve been engaged in activities that your injury should prevent
You never know how much paperwork you will have to fill out before the doctor sees you. The pre-appointment process can often take quite a while. That’s why you should arrive at every appointment at least 30 minutes early. You may have to wait, but it’s better to be early than late
You’re going to have to fill out a lot of forms, as well as answer many questions from doctors and nurses. Make sure you brush up on you medical history before your appointment, and have information such as other doctors’ names, prescription drugs you currently take, and past operations. You don’t want to provide information that is inconsistent with what is found in your medical records, as this could hurt your case
You are here to be evaluated for an injury, not to lie about it. Answer every question truthfully, and don’t exaggerate at any point during the examination. Doctors can often tell when you lie and additional testing could reveal your lack of honesty, and put your case in jeopardy. If you lie with the goal of getting more money, you may actually end up getting less by damaging your credibility
You won’t damage your case if you admit to a physician that a treatment is working for you. Some patients may be hesitant to say that they are feeling better, thinking this could hurt their case by making their injury seem less serious. This is not true, and claiming that nothing helps your pain could actually hurt your case, as it could make your physician believe you are exaggerating your pain
It is crucial that you tell the complete story of your injury to your doctor, and that this story is consistent with the one you provided in your claim and the one in your medical records. Any inconsistencies could hurt your credibility. Make sure you are familiar with every detail of the how the injury occurred, as well as how you related this story before, so that your stories match up
If you had a great career before your injury, highlight this during your appointment. This will make you seem more positive, and give the doctor a better impression of you
Depending on the nature of your injuries and the physician, the appointment duration could vary widely. Don’t read into this too much. A short appointment doesn’t mean the doctor doesn’t believe you, and a long one doesn’t mean that a doctor does. Just focus on giving the doctor honest, detailed answers
Part of the physician’s job is to see how much the injury aggravated past injuries. It is important that you are honest here, and do not exaggerate. Tell them about new symptoms that appeared after the injury. Bring up how you are limited now in ways that you weren’t before. Mention any less frequent pain that has become chronic after your injury. The doctor has not seen you before, so it is up to you to explain how your symptoms have changed after the injury
Unfortunately, your privacy is not always valued during personal injury cases. Private investigators may have more information, or even video, that they provide to the doctor. That is why it is important that you don’t lie at any point during your evaluation. Don’t claim you can’t walk down stairs if you do it in public. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you can do something, and you can emphasize that some days you can and some you can’t. But if you are caught lying, you could put your whole case in jeopardy
The doctor isn’t just observing you in the examination room. They may notice how you are moving and acting before and after the appointment. Don’t come running into the office only to claim you have a limp during your appointment. Don’t act depressed as you speak to the physician only to be all smiles the moment you leave the examination room. Be consistent in how you act. And the best way to be consistent is to be honest
Most doctors will ask you to rate your pain on a 1-10 scale. Unless you are in critical condition, you probably should not rate your pain as 10. The doctor will either think you’re intentionally trying to mislead them, or that you are unable to accurately assess your own injury. Either way, this will hurt you in your report and make you seem less credible. Be honest about your pain, and always remember that a 10 means “the worst pain you can imagine feeling”
Don’t present yourself as self-pitying or despairing as you speak to the doctor. Emphasize that you want to do everything in your power to get healthy, and that you want to return to work. This will make you seem more reasonable and likable in your report
Doctors can often tell when a patient is really in pain and when they are acting. There is no need to grimace or yelp when you move (unless you can’t help it). Never intentionally change your behavior to emphasize your pain. You will only make the doctor suspicious, and could hurt your case
You may want to explain your injury and pain in as much detail as possible. Detail is important, but try to be direct with the doctor. The doctor will likely be busy, and may get frustrated if you take too much time to explain yourself. You may have a lot of questions, but try not to interrupt as the doctor is speaking to you. Try to be prepared for you appointment so that you can explain yourself clearly without confusing the doctor or wasting their time
Even if you feel that the doctor is not being understanding, don’t get angry or visibly frustrated. You’re not going to help your report by being rude to the doctor. Be courteous, try to explain yourself clearly, and stay calm even if you do not like their opinion
You are here to discuss your injury, not the legal side of your case. Even if the doctor brings up the topic, gently but firmly say you hired an attorney, and change the topic. Don’t talk about other parts of the case or the other parties. This is a medical exam, not a legal deposition. You could hurt your case if you say negative things about the other party
You don’t want the doctor to get the impression that you are taking too much pain medication, or possibly abusing it. Be honest about how much you are taking if directly asked by the doctor, but otherwise don’t bring it up. Never ask your IME doctor for pain medication. This will give them a bad impression, and they are not allowed to prescribe you medication in any case
If you wish, you can ask the doctor for their opinion at the end of the appointment. It is up to them whether to give it to you or not. Their opinion will be found in the report. Don’t worry if they don’t give you one at the time. They may want to consider your case further, or they may just be busy
At Glacier Law Firm, we are experienced Montana lawyers who can help you with every step of your personal injury case. Contact us today with any questions you have, or fill out our free case evaluation to see how we can help you build the strongest possible case and get you the compensation you are entitled to.
*The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.
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