According to the Hippocratic Oath, any physician should seek to heal any injured patient. Still, a patient might not feel that the doctor giving an independent medical exam (IME) has taken such an oath. After all, that physician has been hired by the opposing party’s insurance company. Consequently, the examined patient needs to pay attention to what he or she might do or say.
Limit nature of topics discussed
During the IME, the patient/plaintiff should not discuss the submitted claim. He or she should make no reference to the ongoing negotiations. The examining physician should be focused on observing the patient’s physical condition.
Arrive on time
The IME has been scheduled by the opposing party’s insurance company. That company looks for any defect in the behavior of the examined patient. It would welcome the chance to report an instance of tardiness. Of course, if the plaintiff/patient had to seek a special form of transportation, that fact would could certainly be mentioned, regardless of the extent to which the patient might be late.
Be truthful about injuries
The examined patient should not exaggerate the severity of his or her injuries. No effort should be made to embellish those injuries. If the exam has been scheduled for the week following a surgical operation, the insurer should be alerted to that fact. If the insurer does not share that detail with the examining physician, the patient should not be held accountable for any perceived embellishment.
Try to complete all tests
The examiner may plan to compare the test results with the patient’s actions. The examiner will certainly watch the patient, as he or she gets onto the examining table and removes any footwear. Any painful sensations experienced during a test should not be disguised. Still, do not play-up any pain. Keep in mind that all tested actions will get compared to the patient’s overall behavior.
Take advantage of the provisions in Alberta’s law
Take a friend or family member along to the IME. If the person accompanying the patient has access to a video camera, that piece of equipment should be brought into the examining room. According to Alberta’s laws, the taping of an IME is not an illegal act.
A time to be extra-cautious
Be careful about filling out any sort of paperwork before or after the scheduled exam. The examining physician should already have all the necessary information. Do not provide the other side with added information. Talk with your personal injury lawyer in Edmonton before you talk about the accident.
How to respond to questions
If you do not understand a question, say so. Do not attempt to offer an answer. If you do not understand the question, you might fail to give a correct answer.