Personal injury victims – especially those who are seeking workers’ compensation – might have to attend what is referred to as an Independent Medical Examination. This is a medical examination intended to re-verify the victim’s injury. The issue is that the physician chosen by the victim’s employer or insurance company is seldom actually independent. Employers and insurance companies often use Independent Medical Examinations to poke holes in the victim’s claim and ultimately assert that the victim’s injuries were not that serious.
Unfortunately, personal injury victims do not have the choice to opt out of an Independent Medical Examination. There is typically a clause in the insurance policy to stipulate the claimant’s obligation to attend the Independent Medical Examination. Additionally, the victim’s regular treating physician is not permitted to perform an Independent Medical Examination
Independent Medical Examinations are commonly used as a way for the defense to claim the injured person’s damage is not as severe as their claim. They typically use physicians whose primary job is performing Independent Medical Examinations, who have a financial incentive to underplay the injuries of the victim. In Florida, defense lawyers have a right to make the victim undergo an Independent Medical Examination, and choose the doctor who performs it.
Thankfully, in Florida the victim has some rights to help keep an Independent Medical Examination under control. The victim’s lawyer has the ability to push back against an Examination that would require significant travel. They can object to specific tests the doctor intends to perform, and request a detailed report of the findings from the doctor. Most importantly, the victim’s lawyer has the right to let a witness attend and film the Independent Medical Examination to screen it for the jury later. This allows the jury to see an objective view of the Examination, not just the skewed results.
The Independent Medical Examination is an opportunity for insurance companies and employers in workers’ compensation cases to cast doubt on the seriousness of the claimant’s injuries and thus limit the amount they have to pay. This puts victims at a disadvantage for several reasons, but there are ways you can fight back and tip the scales of justice more in your favor. Lawyers should see an Independent Medical Examination coming and be prepared to push back against it as much as they can.
At Feldman Legal Group, we believe in fighting for the injured. We have two decades worth of winning life-changing results for our clients in personal injury cases. If you have been injured, contact us today to speak with an attorney. We have a passion to help people like you.