At some point during your claim for personal injuries you will be required to attend an IME known as an ‘Independent Medico-Legal Examination’ for the purposes of a report.  

The examiner is an independent doctor and not a treating doctor. The examiner has been instructed by your solicitors and/or the insurer of the responsible party to provide an unbiased opinion of the extent of your symptoms, the cause of your symptoms, including the extent to which your injuries are likely to be permanent.  

The written report is treated as evidence and used by the involved parties to support their arguments in either prosecuting or defending your claim. The reports can be crucial in influencing the outcome of your claim as it plays a significant role in helping the parties to understand the nature and impact, including future impact, of your injuries. 

Tips & Tricks

Make sure you arrive on time, and dress appropriately. During an IME it’s important to be respectful and cooperative.  

Be prepared to discuss your medical history and any symptoms you are experiencing. Answer questions honestly and provide accurate information. Do not exaggerate your condition as the doctor will be able to easily test to see if you are making any claims that are unsustainable. Be aware the doctor may ask you to do something for an entirely different purpose than what is first apparent.  

The doctor may conduct a physical examination of you. You may be asked to remove part of your clothing, such as your shoes, or shirt. You should assume the doctor is watching to see how you manage. Under no circumstances should you lie or exaggerate your condition, such as by limiting your physical movements, as this will be obvious to the doctor who is examining you. 

You should clearly describe the areas and degree of pain. If the doctor asks you to move a certain way which causes pain, ensure you let them know because if you don’t your silence is acknowledgement that there is no pain. 

Surveillance

You should assume you are being watched. Insurers often hire private investigators to monitor you through video surveillance during a claim, however it can most often occur around your scheduled IME. This can include surveillance in the days leading up to your appointment, from the moment you leave your house, arrive to the appointment, to the moment you leave.  

Don’t talk about your claim, including when you are in the waiting room, or when you are in the lift, or when you leave. Conversations can be overheard by others, including private investigators and any statements made by you can easily be misrepresented. 

Pro Defendant vs Pro Plaintiff

Expect that an examining doctor may have a bias against injured claimants generally. Insurers tend to ask that you attend upon a doctor who may generally be considered within the legal system as being ‘pro-defendant’, or moderate. You also need to understand that judges and lawyers are also aware of which doctors are preferrable as they read many reports. Regardless, do not overcompensate by exaggerating your symptoms.  

Whilst an insurer arranging for you to attend upon an IME could be a sign that your claim is being taken seriously, it does not mean the insurer wants to pay your maximum entitlements. If you are receiving weekly workcover benefits, an IME is a typical sign your claim is coming to an end and your treatment and benefits may be stopped depending on the outcome of the report.  

If you have been asked to attend an IME but have not sought legal advice, we recommend you do so urgently. We will be able to advise you of the specific and potential impacts IME reports may have on your claim. Contact Kate Ross for a free non-obligation chat.  

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