If you have initiated a claim with our firm, whether it be you were injured in a car accident, at your workplace, at a Hospital or in a public location, you will be required to attend an independent medical examination (“IME“). It will be an unfamiliar experience, so this simplified article can tailor your expectations.
What is an IME?
An IME is an integral part of your personal injury claim and is performed by an independent specialist. Such a specialist will not be your treating doctor and is not representative of nor associated with a defence firm, so they are impartial. Typically, IMEs are requested by your legal practitioner, employers, insurance companies, or the defendant you are claiming against.
Why is an IME important and why is it done?
Lawyers including Turner Freeman and Respondent Insurers are not medical experts and require the opinion of specialists to determine your injuries or illness. When engaging in the claim process, you are legally required to attend IMEs on behalf of your instructing lawyer and the respondent. The courts recognise that a defendant has a right to defend itself and central in that is gathering up expert opinion.
A Claimant may sense they need to pass or have failed an IME – this is simply not the case. It will provide our legal representatives with a background into you and your experiences, especially concerning the injury at hand.
An IME is designed to assist in making decisions and calculating damages related to your incident, rehabilitation, future treatment, recovery, return to work, capacity and entitlements.
We utilise reports from IMEs as evidence of your injuries stemming from the event you endured. It can also be useful to enlighten you about different treatment approaches.
What can you expect from an IME?
We will provide you with the details of our IME early on in your claim. You will attend and the specialist will produce a report of their expert opinion. Later on in your claim, the Respondent will likely do the same. These reports are then relied on by each party to articulate their arguments and determine the appropriate compensation to be awarded.
A specialist will ask a range of questions that may include:-
- What is your past and present medical history?
- How did the injury occur?
- What are your symptoms?
- How does the injury affect your daily life?
- What treatment do you receive?
- Do you receive any care and assistance from family or friends?
You should be punctual, well-dressed, courteous and respected to all parties involved with the specialist. The specialist will produce a report based on your examination and information provided to the specialist (medical records, radiography).
Can any potential issues arise?
An IME appointment can sometimes make participants feel vulnerable and unsupported while having to relive memories of a traumatic experience. We will always attempt to match you with a specialist who is professionally appropriate.
If you were, for example, to tell a specialist an inaccurate account of your history, overexaggerate your symptoms or injury sustained or accounts of these events, it may have a prejudicial outcome to your claim. We recommend to always be truthful and consistent as these practitioners are well experienced. It is important to maintain your credibility.
Whole Person Impairment
Often, an IME report will finalise with a whole person impairment by way of a percentage. It can be difficult to summarise your injury, condition, lived experience and symptoms into a single number. There is a lengthy consideration exercise complete with a rating system to measure. You may feel the percentage that is given does not accurately reflect the severity of your injury or symptoms. However, this is but one aspect of calculating damages and does not reflect the final outcome of your claim.
Get in touch with us
At Turner Freeman, we have specialist personal injury lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements. Our lawyers are located across Queensland including offices in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, North Lakes, Logan and Ipswich. Contact us today on 13 43 63.