You have been involved in a New York car accident, or a slip and fall accident, or you have been the victim of a defective product in New York. You hire a lawyer, who commences a lawsuit on your behalf when the insurance company won’t make a fair offer to settle your case. Approximately 45 days after your deposition, during which you are asked questions under oath by the defendant’s lawyer about your accident and injuries, you will be required to attend what is commonly known as an “IME.” (Independent Medical Examination). This name is in actuality quite laughable, as there is nothing at all “independent” about the examination. It is scheduled by the insurance company lawyer with an orthopedist, neurologist or other doctor who is known for giving opinions that minimize injuries as slight and not permanent, (or that you can return to work) despite your treating doctor’s opinion otherwise. The insurance company doctor will then give trial testimony as to your supposed miraculous recovery for a fee, usually in the range of $7,500 to $10,000 for a few hours in Court!
At The Law Office Of Mark A. Siesel in White Plains, New York, we take these “IME’s” very seriously, and instruct our clients exactly how to approach them so as to limit any potential damage to their case by the insurance company doctor’s opinion. First, make sure that you have your watch with you, and something to take some notes at the conclusion of the examination. Here are the instructions to our clients:
1. When you are presented pages of an intake form requesting personal information such as your social security number and home address (totally for the doctor’s convenience and with no benefit to you) write your name, age and injuries you suffered, and nothing else, and hand the form back to the receptionist;
2. Remember that this is not your doctor, and that his or her main purpose is to be able to write a report and testify in Court that you are either fully recovered, are not in any way disabled, and can return to work if you are not working. Thus, it is critical that when the doctor requests that you do certain tasks, such as walk on your toes or heels, touch your toes, lift your legs to a 90 degree angle from a sitting position or bend in some awkward way (all for the purpose of testifying that you have “normal range of motion”), YOU MUST STOP THE DOCTOR WHEN WHAT HE OR SHE IS DOING IS HURTING YOU! Take control of the exam in a firm fashion and let the doctor know that you do not want to reinjure your back, neck or other part of your body by the examination;
3. The doctor is entitled to ask you about your injuries, past related injuries, treatment you are undergoing and medications you are taking for your pain. If he or she begins asking questions such as what color the traffic light was, or if you were distracted when the accident happened, politely remind the doctor that he or she is supposed to be doing a medical examination, not cross examining you–that role is for the lawyers.
4. When you walk into the examination room, check your watch, and write the time down. Similarly, when the exam ends, jot down the time that it was completed. This is absolutely critical! The reason? Because these “IME’s ” are generally no more than 10 minutes, maybe 15 at the most. When we have the opportunity to cross examine this very wealthy IME doctor during your trial, imagine his or her surprise when they are confronted with the question: ‘Doctor, how could you possibly have conducted a complete examination of my client when you began the exam at 10:54 AM and she left your office at 11:03? Believe me, these insurance company doctors have no good answer for that question.
For a free consultation to discuss your New York personal injury case with an experienced, aggressive lawyer who will fight the insurance companies to obtain the maximum possible compensation for your injuries, lost earnings and medical expenses, contact The Law Office of Mark A. Siesel online or toll free at 888-761-7633.