Independent Medical Examination

When you apply for disability benefits, your insurance provider might ask for an independent medical examination, sometimes abbreviated as IME. This examination verifies the severity and specifics of your disability, an important step in the process of long term disability claims.

Understanding Independent Medical Examinations

An Independent medical examination aims to provide your insurance company with an objective medical health assessment. The results of your IME are used as evidence to either support or deny your claim. Even though IMEs are meant to be impartial, the examiner works for your insurance company and will be looking for reasons to deny your claim.

Typically, a policy specifies the insurer's right to request an IME and your obligation to comply. Check your policy for any limitations, like the number of IMEs allowed.

Tips on How to Prepare for Your Upcoming IME

Approach these examinations carefully to safeguard your interests.

1. Arrive early, know the address, where to park, and be aware of traffic.

2. Bring a written list of your medications, physicians, symptoms, dates, activities, and restrictions.

3. If possible, bring in a list of pertinent medical records and diagnostic imaging reports (x-rays, ultrasounds, scans, etc).

4. Be honest.

5. Be courteous.

6. Dress appropriately.

7. Bring a family member or friend for support (they are likely not permitted into the examination with you).

8. Bring a notebook and pen. Take notes after the assessment to record your impressions. Additionally, you can use a notes app on your phone or tablet.

9. Refrain from discussing your legal case with the assessor.

Need more information on what to expect from your independent medical examination? Share Lawyers’ experienced disability lawyers can give you the answers you need.

When Do Independent Medical Sessions Occur?

An IME is ordered either before or during the litigation process.

When IMEs Occur


If your disability insurance company orders an IME, the examiner typically does not allow the session to be recorded. You can ask for permission, but refusal to participate without recording might lead to the insurance company suspending or terminating your benefits for non-cooperation.

As Part of Litigation

In a disability insurance lawsuit, recording a Defense Medical Examination (DME) might be allowed as a matter of right in certain situations. However, resistance is common, even with compelling arguments for recording. Discuss this matter with your lawyer to assess your circumstances.

What Types of Medical Professionals are Qualified to Conduct IMEs?

The answer to this question will depend on the specific circumstances of your case. They may include but are not limited to:

  • Family physicians

  • Specialists

  • Chiropractors

  • Physiotherapists

  • Psychiatrists

  • Psychologists

Is It Mandatory To Have an IME if My Insurance Company Has Made a Request?

The insurer typically has the right to request an IME, and your policy should state whether you’re obligated to attend. You can choose to decline an IME, but take caution and consider the consequences carefully.

If your claim has been denied and you're not receiving benefits, declining won't change your situation. However, if your claim is pending or you're receiving benefits, refusing may lead to denial or termination of benefits.

Can Someone Come into the Room With Me During an IME?

It may be up to the discretion of the examiner. If they decline to have guests in the room during the IME, insisting may lead to cancellation of the appointment and potential loss of benefits. We recommend reviewing your policy with your lawyer to understand your options before you attend your session.

Can I Record My Independent Medical Examination Session?

With the doctor’s consent, you can record the IME session—and there are good reasons to do so:

  • It collects an accurate account of your session to consult for insight at a later date.

  • It captures the examiner’s competence concerning your disability and the manner in which they approach your case.

  • In the event that your insurance company’s decision is misaligned with the facts of your case as you see them, a recording of your IME session could help if you file an appeal.

While there are clear benefits to recording your IME, prepare for your examiner’s resistance in this matter since they often decline these requests.

Can I Request a Copy of the IME?

If your claim is denied after the insurance company requests an IME, you can request a copy of the report to understand why. Please contact our office for clarification if you're unsure about the legitimacy of the examiner's report.

You can also contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons to learn more about your rights

Share Lawyers Helps You Get Your Benefits

Now that you know what to expect from your independent medical examination, you’ll need to consult a professional disability lawyer like Share Lawyers. Doing so can significantly improve your odds of obtaining your disability benefits.

At Share Lawyers, we've spent over 35 years assisting Canadians in obtaining disability benefits. We recognize the frustration and stress of being unable to work, so we handle all your inquiries and communicate with your insurance company on your behalf.

Reach out now for a free consultation and pay us nothing until we’ve secured your benefits.

Need to learn more about independent medical examinations in Canada? We’ve got you covered.

Contact Share Lawyers today and put our experience to work for you. Our 35+ years of experience can help you win your case against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and other insurance companies. Our legal team offers a free consultation and works on a contingency basis - there are no fees unless you win your case.