When an individual is injured in a car accident they are allowed to choose which physicians will treat them. However, when an insurance company questions whether the treatment being rendered to its insured is reasonable or connected to the car accident, the insurance carrier has the ability to request that the injured driver attend an independent medical examination (IME).
Unfortunately, F.S.627.736(7)(a) gives the insurance carrier the right to request an IME and the ability to stop providing medical benefits to its insured if they refuse to attend the IME appointment. Naturally, it is generally assumed that the physician chosen by the insurance company will act in the insurance company’s best interests, not the interests of the injured driver.
What is an Independent Medical Examination Used For?
It is important to understand that IMEs can be requested by an injured party’s own insurance company or by the at-fault driver’s insurance company or defense attorney in which case it is referred to as a compulsory medical exam (CME). The purpose of an IME requested by the injured driver’s own insurance company is to determine whether or not the insured has a need for continued care, whether the care being rendered to the insured is reasonable, and whether or not the treatment being recommended is connected to the car accident.
Can an CME be Requested by an At-Fault Driver?
A CME can be requested by the at-fault party’s insurance company. This normally occurs after a lawsuit has been filed by the injured driver. It is important to understand that the at-fault driver’s insurance company and the defense attorney hired by that insurance company normally have two general goals for any claim.
- Diminish an injured driver’s ability to prove that the other driver was responsible for the accident.
- Minimize the severity of the injuries sustained by the injured driver.
A CME is used by the at-fault party’s attorney to try and demonstrate that an injured driver’s injuries are less severe than what might be indicated in their medical records. The IME’s report and testimony can then later be used at trial.
How Does an IME or CME Effect my Case?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding a claim, an IME can be used by an insurance carrier as evidence to support its decision to cease paying for all future personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. Alternatively, the at-fault driver’s insurance company can use the negative findings of a CME as a way to diminish the overall damages incurred by the injured driver and thus, the value of the injured driver’s claim.
Can You Challenge the Findings of an IME or CME?
In both instances, the injured driver has the ability to challenge the findings of an IME, a CME, or both. However, in both instances, challenging an IME or a CME is complex legal task that requires the expertise of an experienced car accident attorney.
How can a Car Accident Attorney Challenge an IME or CME?
The key, in both situations, is to prepare for the appointment and to develop a legal strategy to challenge any negative findings an IME or CME might yield. This is normally accomplished through aggressive litigation that is initiated by an experienced car accident attorney in Miami.