Independent or Not? Understanding the Bias of Independent Medical Examinations (IME)

When injured, most people contact car accident attorney Bellevue WA like ours for help gaining compensation to cover those losses. A key aspect of any insurance, workers compensation or legal claim is an independent medical examination (IME).

According to the Washington State Legislature, an IME is an objective medical-legal examination. IME providers are registered by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. While a certain number of examinations are conducted by physicians providing skilled, neutral opinions — most are employed by insurance companies in need of preferential, biased service.

A scathing expose in The New York Times confronted issues of inappropriate examinations, shady IME brokers, and insurance companies seeking to avoid issuing payments to insureds. While it is true insurance fraud is rampant, it is also true the injured and disabled suffer further damage when injuries are deliberately ignored or misrepresented during an IME.

What can you do if facing an IME?  Contact my office, or another attorney experienced with these medical examinations. Steps to protect yourself include:

  • Get legal advice on what you will face, and how to respond
  • Do not volunteer information about your accident or who caused it
  • Never minimize your injury and pain
  • Take a legal representative, nurse, advocate or other witness to the examination
  • You have the right to video record the examination — do it

Being injured hurts. So does being manipulated by the medical and insurance professions. If facing an IME, get good advice before you go.