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If you file a personal injury lawsuit against someone, that defendant or their insurer could ask for an independent medical examination (IME). After all, when someone is injured in an accident, he or she usually will go to their own doctor, the defendant simply wants a second opinion.

Now the defendant cannot choose just any medical professional to perform this exam. While the exact requirements can vary according to each county’s rules, the bottom line is that the independent medical examiner typically must be an M.D. or D.O. (so no psychiatrists).

It would also be ideal for this medical professional to have specialized knowledge as the personal injury case demands, and hopefully experience conducting IMEs. For assistance with this or other aspects of the case, a Raleigh personal injury attorney may be able to help.

Rules of the Independent Medical Exam

Usually speaking, if a defendant asks for an IME, the plaintiff will have to comply (the plaintiff is injured person who filed the lawsuit asking for compensation). Except in rare circumstances, only one exam can be requested, and the insurer/defendant has to give the plaintiff a sufficient heads up on when and where the exam will take place.

The defendant/insurer has to always pay for the exam. The medical professional performing the exam must be accessible to the plaintiff’s lawyer if the lawyer wants the examiner to testify in court or in a deposition.

How can you get ready for this exam?

  • Make sure you’re on time
  • Bring all pertinent medical documents
  • Talk to your lawyer about what to expect

Consider bringing someone, like your doctor, as a witness of the exam. In many cases, an insurer will ask for an IME to be performed by the same doctor every single time, and there is sometimes the chance that the exam will be subjective, even unfair, but there should be nothing to worry about, especially if you’re prepared ahead of time. All you would need to do at that point is answer the examiner’s questions honestly and briefly.

Following An Exam

A report is written up for both defendant and plaintiff to go over, and it should include information such as:

  • An overview of the injury details
  • An outline of the plaintiff’s medical records
  • A summary of the medical examiner’s dialogue with the plaintiff
  • The results of the exam
  • A diagnosis

As you can imagine, this exam could be a significant factor in your case. If you are not already represented by a personal injury attorney, now may be the time to consider finding the legal counsel you need. A legal professional can help you protect your rights by ensuring the exam follows all the regulations that are in place, and by working to make sure a mistaken medical exam doesn’t ruin your claim.

You also deserve to have an attorney who will work tirelessly to build a strong, compelling case to get you financial compensation. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer in Raleigh, talk to our team at the Whitley Law Firm.