What Is an Independent Medical Exam?

When someone is injured and files an insurance claim or lawsuit, it is common for disputes to arise. Many of these disagreements involve the nature and extent of the victim’s injuries.

In these situations, one or both parties may request an independent medical exam of the victim in order to obtain clear facts about his or her condition. If you are required to attend one of these exams, it is important to understand what to expect and consult with a Missouri personal injury lawyer.

The Purpose of an Independent Medical Exam

An independent medical exam is an evaluation conducted by a third-party, independent medical professional. The purpose of the exam is for the medical provider to evaluate a victim and issue an unbiased, truthful opinion about his or her injuries.

There are many reasons as to why someone may request an independent medical exam during a legal proceeding. In many cases, these exams can help resolve a legal claim in a faster, more efficient manner.

In a personal injury lawsuit, for example, the defendant may claim that the plaintiff’s injuries are not serious. If the victim files a workers’ compensation claim, his or her insurer may believe that the injuries did not occur at work.

In both of these situations, an independent examination can verify the nature and severity of the victim’s injuries and help determine whether he or she is eligible for compensation. An independent medical exam can be requested during any type of claim, including lawsuits, disability claims, workers’ comp, and medical malpractice cases.

What to Expect During an Independent Medical Exam

If you are required to attend an independent medical exam, it is common to feel nervous. However, these exams are relatively straightforward. It is important to remain calm, be truthful, and maintain a positive attitude during the procedure.

Before the exam occurs, the doctor may or may not review your medical records and other documents about your injuries. In some cases, the insurance company may send a letter to the doctor with a series of questions that could guide the doctor in his or her examination.

Some of these questions may include:

You should always request a copy of this correspondence. Your lawyer can evaluate the letter sent to the doctor and follow up if any factual errors appear in the correspondence.

During the examination, the doctor will ask you about the injury, how it happened, and your medical history. Then, your doctor may conduct a physical exam and perform tests to assess your condition.

How an Independent Medical Exam Could Affect Your Claim

It is important to remember that anything that you say or do could be used as evidence in the hearing or lawsuit. Standard doctor-patient privilege and confidentiality does not apply to independent medical exams. As such, it is important to be consistent, honest, and informed about the procedure.

In these situations, you need a lawyer on your side who can ensure that your rights are protected during the exam. A Kansas City personal injury lawyer can evaluate any correspondence with the examiner, intervene if the process is unfair, and fight for your right to justice.