What You Need To Know About An Independent Medical Exam

What is an Independent Medical Exam?

An Independent Medical Examination also called an IME, is meant to provide an unbiased and professional medical examination as evidence when you are making a disability benefits claim. An IME is conducted by a medical specialist who has never previously offered medical care to the individual.

Why Do I Need An Independent Medical Exam?

Most insurance policies allow an insurance company to request that a claimant attend an IME with a doctor that the insurance company has chosen. Insurance companies use these medical assessments as part of their adjudication because it helps them to decide what to do about the claim. Independent Medical Exams can be required for both short-term and long-term disability benefits claims.

Is an Independent Medical Exam Mandatory?

Although you always have the option to decline an IME, it’s important to consider the potential consequences. If your disability claim is pending approval or if you are already receiving disability benefits, refusing to participate in an IME could give the insurance company the power to deny your claim or cut off your benefits, even if you are unable to work. In most circumstances, a claimant must attend an examination.

What Kinds of Medical Professionals Perform An IME?

Medical professionals who may be asked to complete the assessment include family physicians, specialists, chiropractors, physiotherapists, psychiatrists, and psychologists. Insurance companies will often use the same doctors for Independent Medical Exams in hopes of having a level of control over the medical findings. Although they will choose a qualified medical professional, it may be stressful when you are applying for disability benefits because not all doctors will agree on diagnoses.

Can I Record the IME Session?

If you would like to have an accurate record of the doctor’s questions and your answers, you may record the session with the doctor’s consent. A recording may also determine whether the doctor’s examination techniques are competent and whether their report corresponds with the insurance company’s decision about your claim.

Can Someone Come Into The Room With Me During An IME?

Although you can request this, many assessors will not allow it and if you insist, they will simply not proceed with the assessment. Unfortunately, this could result in suspension, termination, or denial of your benefits based on your non-cooperation. You could contact the College of Physicians and Surgeons to inquire about your rights in these circumstances.

Can I Request a Copy of the IME?

You do have the right to request a copy of the IME report. If you are dealing with situation when the insurance company response was “claim denied” based on an Independent Medical Exam, you will want to know why. If you have concerns about whether it is legitimate, please contact the disability lawyers at Share Lawyers and ask for a free consultation.

How Can I Prepare For an IME?

  • Arrive early, know the address, where to park, and be aware of traffic.
  • Bring in a written list of your medications, physicians, symptoms, dates, activities, restrictions.
  • If possible, bring in a list of pertinent medical records and diagnostic imaging reports (x-rays, ultrasounds, scans, etc.).
  • Be honest.
  • Be polite and courteous.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Bring a family member or friend for support (they are likely not permitted into the examination with you).
  • Bring a notebook and pen. Take notes after the assessment to record your impressions.
  • Do not discuss your legal case with the assessor.

If you are unsure about your rights in a situation where you are asked to undergo an Independent Medical Examination, we encourage you to reach out to Share Lawyers today. Our disability law firm is here to help you navigate your options.

If you have had your claim for long-term disability denied, contact the long-term disability insurance lawyers at Share Lawyers. Our experienced team of long-term disability (LTD) lawyers can help. We have recently settled cases against Canada Life, Desjardins, Manulife, RBC Insurance, Sun Life, and many more. We offer free consultations and there are no fees unless we win your case. Find out if you have a disability case.

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