Independent Medical Examination (IME)
Auto No-Fault Changes: Independent Medical Exams
Update: As of June 2019, with the sweeping reform of Michigan’s auto no-fault law, changes will also be coming to independent medical examinations. In this video with Fox 17 Know the Law, Grand Rapids car crash lawyer, Tom Sinas, describes these changes. Under the reformed law, certain physician requirements must be met, as well as specialization specifics.
Your Responsibilities if an IME is Requested
Section 3151 of the No-Fault Act provides that when the mental or physical condition of a person is at issue, the no-fault insurance company can request to have the claimant examined by a physician of its choice. The right to conduct such an examination (often referred to as an “independent medical examination,” or “IME”), however, is subject to a general requirement of “reasonableness.”
Section 3152 of the Act states that a claimant who undergoes such an independent medical examination may request a copy of the report. Section 3153 of the Act provides that if a claimant refuses to submit to an independent medical examination, a court can issue orders that are appropriate under the circumstances, including prohibiting the claimant from introducing any evidence of his or her mental or physical condition.
Potential for Bias in IMEs
Independent medical examinations are often biased in favor of the insurance company. Many independent medical examiners work for disability evaluation groups who are closely aligned with insurance companies. Thus, they may have a built-in bias or prejudice against injured claimants.
If bias or prejudice on the part of the examiner can be demonstrated, their opinions or conclusions may be excluded from evidence. However, claimants should never ignore a notice from their insurer that an IME has been scheduled. An unjustified failure to appear for such an exam could jeopardize the injured person’s claim.
In this video produced by the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN), Lansing car accident lawyer Stephen Sinas, who serves as associate general counsel for CPAN, explains IMEs and how they relate to receiving — or being denied — no-fault benefits from your auto insurance company.