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Do You Have to Consent to an Independent Medical Exam in a Maryland Personal Injury Claim?

If you file a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim, the other side is likely to ask for a medical examination with a doctor of their choosing, which is often called an independent medical exam. They use these to determine the nature and extent of your injuries. They will examine causal relationship and look at whether the course of treatment and cost were reasonable. The big problem with these exams is that they are not truly independent. Do not get railroaded into an examination without an experienced Maryland personal injury attorney on your side.

Here is what you need to know about independent medical examinations, or IMEs:

Who Chooses the IME Doctor?

An IME is intended to be an objective assessment of your current medical condition, but the degree of objectiveness will depend on the doctor chosen. The other side chooses and pays the doctor for the evaluation, which is why you will also hear an IME called a defense medical exam. It should come as no surprise then than the doctor is likely going to be fairly biased, as he or she is on the defense’s payroll. If the doctor sides with the plaintiff, it is not likely the defendant would use that doctoragain, so there is incentive for the doctor to knock down your claim or claim some treatment was unnecessary.

Are You Required to Go to a Defense Medical Exam?

Unfortunately, if you do not attend, the insurance company can seek a court order that compels you to show up. The other concern is the location of the exam. If you reside in Charles County and the doctor is all the way north in Baltimore, guess who will be required to attend the exam in Baltimore. If they set it for a time that is inconvenient for you, your attorney can help get it rescheduled to a more convenient time.

Preparing for an IME

Your attorney will help you prepare for the examination, but you should take the time to jot down some notes on what you plan to say. The exam is quick, so you need to be able to accurately articulate your condition in just a couple minutes. While you should tell them about every pain and physical limitations, do not exaggerate. The doctor will see right through this and make a note of it in the report, which will not help your case.

Be sure to bring a copy of your films, like X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs. Since most are on CDs, it is easy to bring a digital copy with you. Remember not to overshare. You should state the facts and be honest about your condition, but do not give detail that is not necessary. It is not going to sway the doctor’s opinion, either.

Hiring a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

Having a Maryland personal injury attorney on your side is imperative when you are dealing with defense medical examinations. Your attorney is likely already familiar with the doctor the other side is using and can predict what the report might say. He or she can negotiate conditions for the exam to lessen the potential for bias. If you have been in an accident or are filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro to schedule a consultation.

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