An Independent Medical Examination Is Really "Independent"?
The Fort Lauderdale accident attorneys at Lyons, Snyder & Collin, P.A. are frequently
asked questions about Independent Medical Exams (“IME”) in the context of an
automobile accident or slip and fall case. An insurance company, whether you’re own,
or an adverse insurance company (meaning the insurance company that represents the
interests of the person who is responsible for your injuries) has the right to compel you
to attend an IME. This exam, performed by a medical doctor, is intended to evaluate the
injuries you sustained from the accident or incident in order to aid the insurance
company. According to the dictionary definition, independent means the following: not
influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting
for oneself: an Divorce Attorney. That being said, and to be very clear, an IME paid for
by an insurance company, is far from independent!
Independent, Not So Fast!
Insurance companies often employ “professional expert witnesses”, that is, doctors who
earn a large portion of their living, most often hundreds of thousands of dollars each
year, on the witness stand or performing IME’s. These doctors are particularly motivated
to make findings that align with the expectations and needs of the insurance companies
that pay their salaries. The motivation of these doctors, or should I say professional
witness, is clear, minimize your injury! The most common opinion(s) by these doctors is
that your injury was preexisting or that “your subjective complaints of pain” are not
objectively substantiated by their physical exam – more plainly, you are a liar.
The Fort Lauderdale accident and Divorce Attorneys at Lyons, Snyder & Collin are
skilled in exposing the inherent bias and motivation of these doctors. For example, the
most obvious way to discredit the truth and veracity of these doctors is to follow the
money! Our accident and injury attorneys often expose these doctors by uncovering
their IRS form 1099’s, a federal tax filing that specifically details the annual amount
each insurance company has paid the doctor for their professional services. It is
certainly nice at trial to tell the jury that this doctor, whom the insurance company would
have you believe, has been paid in excess of two hundred thousand dollars the
previous year from performing IME’s and testifying against the injured. Another tool
often used by our personal injury attorneys is to have the IME videotaped. IME’s are
usually twenty minutes long – playing the complete exam for the jury is a powerful tool,
as twenty minutes is an inadequate time to perform a legitimate examination.
Proper Preparation Is Key
There is only one way to go into an Independent Medical Examination, no matter who is
performing it. Thorough preparation and education of the process is required. The Fort
Lauderdale accident and injury lawyers at Lyons, Snyder & Collin always meet with
every client, if possible, well in advance of the IME and go over all prior relevant medical
records. No previous medical treatment or the circumstances of how the accident
occurred should be overlooked as the IME doctor will certainly ask the client about it
during the independent medical examination. An innocent lapse of memory by the client
when questioned by the doctor about the “how accident occurred”, “symptoms the injury
produced”, or “former and current treatment modalities” can be all the doctor needs to
conclude that the client is trying to hide something and that the claim is illegitimate. The
Fort Lauderdale accident and injury attorneys at Lyons, Snyder & Collin will make sure
that you are as prepared as possible to ensure that your claim is not jeopardized.
Martindale "AV" personal injury lawyer Marc P. Lyons is a founding partner of Lyons,
Snyder & Collin, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Fort Lauderdale personal injury
attorney Marc P. Lyons handles all accident and injury matters including auto accidents,
motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, wrongful death, and dog bites. The Fort Lauderdale
personal injury law firm of Lyons, Snyder & Collin, P.A. is located at 312 Southeast 17th
Street, Third Floor, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316. Telephone: 954.462.8035.
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