"Independent" Medical Evaluations Affect Your Personal Injury Case

If you are pursuing a personal injury claim in Las Vegas, Nevada, you may be notified at some point that the insurance company wants you to submit to an “independent medical examination” (IME). While the name may make it seem like the doctor performing the examination is neutral, this is not the case. In fact, an IME is simply a medical examination for the defense—in other words, the other side—and offers them a chance to use their own paid medical consultant to evaluate your injuries. Sometimes an IME is allowed under Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure (N.R.C.P.) 35. This rule allows the other side to gather their own medical evidence about your injuries to help support their case. That way, the insurance company can rely on their IME report rather than relying on the medical opinions of your treating physicians.

If you have been asked to submit to an independent medical examination in Nevada, a skilled personal injury attorney can help you prepare for the evaluation.

Not Really Independent

The physician who conducts an independent medical examination must be a qualified, licensed physician or other medical professional. Additionally, he or she must have the appropriate qualifications in order to perform the IME. The IME physician must be suitably certified or licensed for the examination that is being performed, according to the Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure. That being said, understand that while the medical examination is called independent, it is not. This physician consultant is hired and paid by the defense, and the results of the IME as well as the doctor’s opinion will be used by them to try to reduce or eliminate your monetary compensation. Keep in mind the medical examination should not be adversarial when being performed, nor should it be an unpleasant experience.

What to Expect

Typically, the examining doctor will ask you some questions about your medical history and other factors that may be related to your current medical condition. For example, the physician may ask if you have had prior injuries in the same location of your body. Of note, however, the doctors cannot ask you about unrelated personal matters or any embarrassing issues that are not related to the type of injury from which you suffer. The doctor may also run some tests to help evaluate your injuries. Nevada law grants both sides the right to view the evidence when a personal injury case is pending. The most important and compelling evidence of damages in a Nevada personal injury case is, of course, the victim’s injuries. For this reason, independent medical examinations are not always allowed—there must be some relevant information to be gained from an examination. The IME doctor will write and issue a report on your injuries and the evaluation; you have a right to receive a full and detailed copy of this report, including the results of any tests taken.

Nevada Personal Injury Lawyers

If you are seeking monetary compensation for injuries you have suffered in a Nevada accident due to the fault of another, know that the insurance company on the defense side will do all that it can to reduce or eliminate your damage award. Do not let them have the upper hand. Contact the experienced Nevada personal injury lawyers at Parry & Pfau today for help in fighting for what you deserve.

(image courtesy of Hush Naidoo)