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What You Should Know About An Independent Medical Examination

In virtually all personal injury cases, once the lawsuit is filed and your deposition has been taken, the insurance company will set you up for what they call an Independent Medical Examination (IME). YOU NEED TO BE AWARE that this examination is not independent at all. The doctors who participate in this process make hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for performing such exams, from the depositions that follow, and from expert witness fees for appearing in court. They are hired for one reason- TO DESTROY YOUR CASE.

The first thing you will likely be required to do is give a medical history and a history of how your accident happened. While at first blush this seems rather harmless, countless cases have been lost because a Plaintiff left out some injury or pre-existing condition. If you should omit information, you will be asked at trial why you were not honest in giving your history to the Doctor. You will also be asked to list all of your present complaints. LEAVE NOTHING OUT. If you happen to omit something you will once again be questioned at trial as to why you did not give "their" doctor accurate information when you had the chance. KEEP IN MIND that opposing counsel will attempt to make you look like a liar in front of the jury.

The next step is the examination itself. Let's assume you have a low back injury. You will be asked where you have pain, numbness, or tingling. Many people will say "My whole leg gets numb". This is not possible with a single level disc injury. The nerve roots for each disc level innervate only a certain portion of your leg. Your attorney should go over this with you so you have a clear understanding of what your condition is and where your complaints should be located. Invariably you will be asked to stand up and bend at the waist and tell the doctor when you feel pain. He will then record the angle you were bending at. At some point later in the examination you will be asked to lie on your back on the examination table and lift both legs upward until you feel pain. THIS IS A TRICK! It is exactly the same test as when you were standing. If you do not answer that you feel pain at the same angle as when you were bending over, it will appear that you are lying. Be aware that the doctor will observe you as you are getting on and off of the examination table. If you hop off without showing any difficulty, he will write that down as well. The doctor will also watch you carefully as you walk in and out of the room.

Finally you probably will be asked. "Is there anything that you could do before this accident that you cannot do today?" People who have not been properly prepared for this question tend to give a laundry list of things they cannot do as a result of their accident. THINK ABOUT IT. Unless you are a paraplegic, have had an extremity amputated, or are brain damaged there isn't anything you did before that you CANNOT do today. You may not do it as well, or as often, and you may have resulting pain- BUT YOU CAN STILL DO IT!

So, in closing, if you are properly prepared and are aware of the process, you should have no problems with your "Independent Medical Examination". The personal injury attorneys at Cole Law Group always strive to make sure their clients are fully and completely prepared for anything that may arise during the course of their lawsuit. If we can help you, please call us at (615) 490-6020.

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Cole Law Group
750 Old Hickory Blvd
Building 2
Suite 202
Brentwood, TN 37027

Phone: 615-490-6020
Fax: 615-942-5914
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