HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR INSURANCE MEDICAL EXAM
Preparing yourself prior to your insurance medical exam can help you get the treatment you need and deserve. Here are some general guidelines to help you prepare for your insurance medical exam. But there might be exceptions in some cases. It’s best to talk to an attorney to help you get ready for the IME.
1. DON'T SAY MORE THAN YOU HAVE TO
Listen carefully to what the doctor is asking you. If the doctor's question is not clear, tell the doctor you don't understand the question. Once you understand the question, keep the answer short. You want to fully answer the questions, but with as few words as possible.
2. DON’T SAY ANYTHING YOU DON'T KNOW TO BE TRUE
Of course, the worst thing anyone can do is lie, but guessing can be just as bad. It’s okay to tell the doctor that you don’t know or aren’t sure of the answer to a question. If you can provide an approximate answer, that’s fine. But don’t guess or make something up. If you guess wrong, the insurance company will treat it as a lie.
If you are asked when you’ve been involved in any prior collisions or if you’ve had similar issues or injuries before, an approximate date range as good as knowing the exact date. If you say anything that is incorrect, the insurance company will try to use it against you.
If you aren’t certain of the cost to repair the car, don’t give a number. The IME doctor will have the repair estimates. The insurance company sends them all of your medical and property damage records. If you give a number that is higher than the actual cost, they will try to make it seem like you’re exaggerating.
3. KEEP YOUR ANSWERS SHORT
It’s important to give accurate and complete answers, but keep it brief. If you are required to describe a situation, a sentence or two is enough. We are taught to be thorough with our medical providers so that they will be better able to treat and heal us. However, IMEs are different. The more information you give the IME doctor, the better opportunity the insurance company will have something to use against you.
If the doctor asks how the collision happened, you can say “ I was rear-ended while stopped for a red light,” or “I was T-boned as I went through an intersection.” Don’t tell them your speed or how fast the other driver was going when you were hit. Only respond with that additional information if the doctor specifically asks you.
If the doctor doesn’t ask you a question that you think is important, that’s the doctor’s problem, not yours. Remember the rule: don’t volunteer information.
4. IF THEY DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL
You may feel the urge to tell the doctor why you need more treatment or how your injury is directly related to the collision. However, this is not the time or the place to advocate for yourself. You have two simple jobs to do at the IME:
- Let doctor examine you.
- Answer the doctor’s questions.
5. BE CONSISTENT AND CONFIDENT
Be consistent and confident. Maintaining your credibility is important. If you answer a question that is not consistent with your medical records, the doctor will highlight that in the report. The insurance company will say that you were not being truthful and you should not be believed. So, what’s the rule here? Don’t guess!
6. IF ASKED, TELL THE DOCTOR ABOUT SIMILAR INJURIES OR HEALTH CONDITIONS YOU HAVE HAD IN THE PAST
Even if they were minor. Again, if you tell the doctor something that doesn’t match your current or past medical records, the insurance company will accuse you of being dishonest.
If you had similar pain, discomfort, or limitations before the collision, you will probably be asked to compare your symptoms before and after the collision. It can help to answer that question in terms of frequency (how often), duration (how long) and intensity (how painful/uncomfortable). For example, before the collision your symptoms may have been occasional and mild, but after the collision they were more intense and frequent. Maybe you couldn’t (or still can’t) do things after the collision that you could do before. Think about these things prior to attending the IME.
One more time, because it’s vital: never answer a question if you don’t know the answer. It’s important to think about prior similar issues or problems that you’ve had before going to the IME, but you are not expected to know your entire medical history. Be careful not to give an answer that’s a guess.
Before you go to the IME, talk with an experienced personal injury attorney.
The better prepared you are, the better the outcome will be.