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Being Asked To Submit To An Independent Medical Exam? Avoid These Mistakes That Might Sabotage Your Claim

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If you are filing an injury-related claim with your insurance company, the company may request that you undergo an independent medical exam, or IME. This exam is typically conducted by a doctor who contracts with the insurance company. He or she will look you over and offer a second opinion as to the extent of your injuries, so the insurance company can be confident that the injuries described by your regular doctor are, indeed, present.

Some patients, although they have the best of intentions, make some critical mistakes when it comes time to submit to an IME. Make sure you avoid these mistakes -- they could cost you your claim.

Mistake 1: Telling the doctor "the other doctor said..."

It's the job of the doctor conducting the IME to offer his or her own opinion of your injuries, based on the examination. Telling the doctor what your other doctor said could lead the doctor to draw biased conclusions that he or she would not have reached if it were not for your mention of the other doctor's opinion. If the IME doctor tells the insurance company you were talking about the original doctor's opinion, it may look to the insurance company like you were trying to persuade the doctor to go along with that opinion -- and you may have a more challenging time winning your claim as a result.

Mistake 2: Not taking notes or asking for a copy of the report.

Since IME doctors are contractors of the insurance company, there are times when patients feel the reports they generate are biased or incomplete, and that this biased reporting leads to the denial of a claim. However, if you do not have a copy of the report on hand, it will be hard for you to know what the doctor really did tell the insurance company. You need that report and some notes about the appointment in case you later need to challenge the denial of your claim.

Mistake 3: Not telling the doctor about symptoms and issues that are not visible.

The IME doctor should ask you about your symptoms and pain and include your responses in the report. However, if he or she should happen to forget to bring these issues up, or if you're suffering from ailments that you know the doctor cannot detect from visually examining your body, make sure you bring them up. Their inclusion in the report may be vital for your winning of the claim.

If you avoid these mistakes during your IME appointment, you'll increase the chances of a clear, unbiased report being generated. With any luck, that report will include a confirmation of your injuries, which will help your insurance company determine how much compensation you are owed.