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Independent Medical Examinations Can Pose a Risk to Injury Victims

By The Husband and Wife Law Team on August 10, 2009

In the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure there is such a thing allowed called an Independent Medical Examination, or IME. As experienced Arizona personal injury lawyers, we know that an “Independent” Medical Examination is a misnomer. Both insurance defense attorneys and injury lawyers with experience know better. It is too often the Arizona victims of a terrible accident who are deceived by that word “independent” as they go through a medical exam funded by the defense for the insurance companies.

We know that in a situation such as an auto accident or other accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the injury victim will clearly seek to be treated by trained and trusted medical professionals. In theory, the insurance company deserves to get the opinion of a doctor other than those treating the plaintiff. Yet when the insurance company refuses to pay a claim to an Arizona resident, even if it is wrongfully denying payment for an injury caused by the insured party’s negligence, they have the right to call for an IME with any personal injury case.

What the personal injury victim does not know is that doctors who conduct an IME for Arizona auto accident victims have a vested interest in the outcome, as it is the insurance company that pays the doctor doing the examination. Some doctors earn more than half a million dollars per annum just from these exams. The question that often crosses our minds is whether doctors who conduct such examinations would continue to be paid by insurance companies if they find the victim’s injuries are indeed serious.

The truth is that insurance companies knowingly use IMEs to deny claims to personal injury victims throughout Arizona in order to avoid paying for an insured party’s negligence. Whether it be a truck accident in Mesa, a bicycle accident in Yuma, a Phoenix bus crash, or any other accident in Arizona, insurance companies deny compensation to people who have the legal right to receive it. Often, it is IMEs that are to blame. In reality, what they are is “Insurance Medical Examinations.”

This is why we strongly encourage those who are asked to go to a doctor who is being paid by an insurance company to contact a skilled Arizona personal injury lawyer who has the knowledge about deceitful insurance company practices such as IMEs. Too many innocent victims of Arizona car accidents and other accidents in the state are prevented from collecting the compensation they legally deserve.

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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer