Independent Medical Examinations (IME)
Independent Medical Examiner
INDEPENDENT MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS are common in legal and administrative proceedings when a party desires to confirm the presence or absence of a claimed medical issue. During an Independent Medical Exam (IME), a physician, surgeon, psychologist, neuropsychologist, or other healthcare provider conducts an in-person (or telepresence) examination focused on particular signs, symptoms, diseases, limitations, or injuries that form the basis of the legal claim. IMEs are common in civil litigation as part of personal injury and medical malpractice claims, and they are also instrumental for long-term disability claims, Workers’ Compensation claims, veterans’ disability claims, and programs involving impaired professionals.
Independent Medical Examinations may be performed at the clinician’s office or another agreed-upon location, though the general rule is that an adverse party cannot be compelled to travel an unreasonable distance. On occasion, observers such as legal counsel or nurses may attend IMEs.
An IME is Intended to Answer Four Specific Questions
- The nature and existence of the claimed disease, symptoms, or injury. In other words, does a disease, process, defect, or injury exist and, if so, what is it?
- The etiology of the claimed disease, symptoms, or injury. If a problem exists, what caused it to arise and is it causally linked to the claimed cause?
- The extent of the claimed disease, symptoms, or injury. How severe is the alleged problem and in what ways is the claimant affected?
- The prognosis of the claimed sign, symptoms, or injury. How, if at all, will the claimant be affected by the claimed issue(s) in the future and what options are available for treatment or mitigation?