What Is An Independent Medical Examination? Cleveland Personal Injury Law Firm Explains the Basics

October 24, 2015

Under Ohio negligence law, a plaintiff must establish that he suffered injury as the result of the negligent acts of another.  Assuming the plaintiff can successfully prove each element of his claim, the measure of compensation awarded will be based on the extent and severity of the injuries that the plaintiff actually suffered. 

Because the plaintiff’s injuries must be proven—and may be challenged—as part of a negligence action, the extent and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries may be closely scrutinized by defense counsel.  This is not merely done by reference to medical records, though.  Frequently, injured plaintiffs will be asked to undergo an independent medical examination.

Independent Medical Examinations: The Basics

In most situations, an injured plaintiff institutes a claim because he is injured, has seen his physician for his injuries, and will rely on his physician to provide medical documentation of his injuries.  But the defendant (or, in many cases, an insurer) does not have to merely accept the opinion of the plaintiff’s personal physician.  Instead, defendants in many personal injury cases rely on independent medical examinations.  The purpose of an IME is to allow an “independent” physician to examine the injured plaintiff, question the plaintiff, and make an “independent” determination of the cause and extent of the injuries.

As a practical matter, an IME should be much like any other physical examination, though likely focusing on the specific injuries/body parts involved in your personal injury damages claim.  However, those who are asked to undergo an “independent” medical examination should be wary.  Physicians acting as independent medical examiners may take frequent referrals from defendants and insurers, and concerns about bias are not unfounded.

Cleveland Personal Injury Lawyers at Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA

If you have been asked to submit to an IME and are not represented by legal counsel, contact a Cleveland personal injury lawyer immediately.  At Lowe Scott Fisher Co., LPA, our experienced trial attorneys are available by phone to discuss your car accident, product liability, or other personal injury claim.

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