If you are involved in an accident and suffer an injury, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your damages from the liable party, which is usually the company that insures the at-fault driver or the premises where your accident occurred. Unfortunately, insurance companies are generally more interested in protecting their profits than your right to compensation as an injury victim.
One way they try and protect their bottom line is by requesting injury victims to undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME) – which is hardly independent – to claim your injuries were either caused by a pre-existing condition or you are not injured.
Our personal injury lawyers in Fort Worth are prepared to help you stand up for your right to pursue the compensation you need after a preventable accident. We may be able to help you through the legal process of filing a claim and advise you how to get through the medical exam if it is required.
When Are Independent Medical Exams Required in Texas?
In a case involving a man who was injured after falling in the parking lot of a grocery store, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that a judge can mandate a medical examination of an injury victim because the legal proceeding involves the injury victim’s health. Therefore, it meets the legal standard that good cause exists for the examination.
Although the legal precedent exists for the insurance company to ask a judge to force you to take the exam, it is not mandatory until the judge makes the order. Therefore, when the insurance company tells you that you must undergo a medical exam, they are not always being truthful. These companies often wager that you do not understand your right to refuse an IME, so they have their doctors examine you and write a report that is favorable to them.
What to Do if the Insurance Company Requests an Independent Medical Exam
Despite your right to refuse a medical exam unless ordered by a judge, it may be in your best interest to submit to the exam to show you are being honest about your injuries and that you are serious about holding the at-fault party liable for your damages.
It is important that before you agree to the examination you speak to one of our licensed attorneys who may be able to help you prepare for it. Remember, the doctor who will conduct the exam is usually contracted by the liable insurance company that is looking for any excuse to deny or devalue your claim.
Is the Doctor Actually Independent and Unbiased Against Me?
Generally, no. Some doctors are regularly contracted by insurance companies to perform IMEs on accident victims. To obtain future contracts, these doctors often produce results that favor insurance companies that pay them. Unfortunately, this means that the doctor who performs your IME will most likely have biases against you.
However, these doctors are legally obligated to tell the truth, so if you broke your leg in the accident, the doctor must not deny you suffered a broken bone. Instead, what these doctors often do is attribute your injuries to pre-existing conditions or incidents unrelated to the accident to help the insurance company avoid liability.
What To Expect During the Exam
Seeing a doctor who will most likely be skeptical about your injuries may be intimidating, but it is important to remember that you suffered a legitimate injury due to the negligence of another person and you have the legal right to pursue the compensation you need.
During the exam, the doctor is likely going to ask you questions about the accident, what injuries you suffered and how much pain you feel. He or she may also ask you about your medical history. It is important that you stick to direct answers, as the doctor is likely going to try and get you to admit something that may hurt your claim.
What Should I Expect from the Report?
Even if the visit with the doctor for the IME goes smoothly and you feel confident about your answers, do not be surprised to receive a report from the doctor claiming you are not as hurt as you claim to be. This is often a tactic used by these insurer-contracted doctors who ask patients about how their treatment is going and when a patient says it is going well and helping, the doctors sometimes conclude that the injury victim no longer requires treatment. On the other hand, if you say the treatment is not helping, they may conclude treatment is no longer needed since it is not helping.
With reports like these, the insurance company is likely to deny compensation for any future medical treatment.
Fortunately, our attorneys have experience dealing with these tactics from the insurance companies and their hired doctors and are prepared to help you fight back.
Call an Experienced Attorney Today
If the insurance company requests that you undergo a medical exam, you may not be required to attend it until a court orders you to. However, if you decide it is a good idea to show you are truly hurt, our attorneys are prepared to help you protect the value of your claim.
Our attorneys have over 50 years of combined experience dealing with insurance companies that use various tactics to deny or devalue injury claims.
We offer a free consultation and charge you nothing while we work on your case. We only get paid if you do.
Call us today at (817) 920-9000.