Canton, MA – When you are injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the amount of damages you deserve will be based on the severity of your injury and the extent to which it impacted your life. This is why it is of utmost importance to see a doctor as soon as possible after an accident, such as a car crash, a slip and fall, or a work injury. Unfortunately, your insurance company may decide it is not enough and order you to see another doctor. Can they do that?
Experienced Canton personal injury lawyers say that yes, you must do as you’re told. That’s the law in Massachusetts.
What’s the point of an Independent Medical Examination?
As Massachusetts is a no-fault state, you’ll first file a claim under your Personal Injury Protection policy. The insurance adjuster will tell you there’s nothing wrong with the medical records you submitted so far, but you should ‘get a second opinion’. Nothing wrong with that, is it? Most people would like to get a second opinion when they have a health issue.
However, undergoing an Independent Medical Examination (IME) has nothing to do with you getting the best possible treatment for your problems. It’s their way to prevent insurance fraud, only they won’t say that to your face. More than that, it is often their way of reducing the damages you deserve.
Most doctors are honest and want to help their patients, but if a physician works with an insurance company you cannot and should not fully trust them. They will tell you it’s an independent doctor, but when the insurer regularly sends patients to them we’re talking about a doctor being paid for a service they provide. You can expect the independent doctor to minimize the severity of your injuries and declare you don’t need more treatment or anything the insurer might have to pay for.
Still, you will have to see this independent doctor. Talk to your lawyers and let them prepare for this appointment which will weigh heavily on the final settlement you get.
How to prepare for an IME?
The insurance company will send a summary of your case to this independent doctor, together with your medical records and a list of questions they have about your injury. Ask for a copy of their summary and have your lawyers examine it carefully. If you find errors in it, your lawyers will ask the insurer to correct them.
You should also review your medical history so that you’ll be able to answer any questions. This is especially important if you’ve had medical issues in the past that affected the same area as the injury. For instance, if you’ve seen your physician in the past for back pains and you sustained spine damage in the crash, the insurance adjuster and their independent doctor will argue that your current pain is not new and has nothing to do with the crash.
- When you go to your appointment, make sure to take the crutches or neck brace you’ve been using since the accident.
- Write down all your symptoms, in case you forget something.
- Keep in mind that an IME is not covered by doctor-patient privilege and anything you tell the doctor will be reported back to the insurance adjuster.
- Try to be as precise as possible in your answers. If you have difficulty standing, you must be able to tell the doctor how long it is before you need to sit down.
- Be truthful in your answers, but don’t volunteer any information that could be used against you.
Have you been recently injured in an accident in the Canton area?
Don’t waste any time and contact a reliable attorney at the Neumann Law Group. Our attorneys have many years of experience in personal injury and wrongful death cases. Through our dedicated representation of car accident victims and their families, we will help you win the damages you are entitled to. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our toll-free number at 800-525-6386.