What Is An Independent Medical Exam And Why Is It Important?

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After an accident or other event leading to an injury, a personal injury claim is often filed in order to recover for losses and damages. The types of damages that are compensable include lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and medical expenses which can include diagnosis testing, hospital stays, medication, surgery, and therapy costs.1 In order to recover for medical expenses related to physical or mental injuries, medical reports and exams are often required as evidence of the existence and extent of injury. However, in certain personal injury cases an independent medical examination is sought by the person or entity being sued. Read on to learn more about independent medical exams from our experienced St. Louis personal injury lawyers.

The Basics Behind an Independent Medical Exam

The most basic purpose behind an independent medical exam (IME) is to have a non-bias review of a plaintiff’s medical condition as a way to verify that the reported injuries are in fact real, that the injuries as are accurate as to the extent of physical, emotional, or mental damage that the plaintiff claims, and that the injuries are not attributable to a different cause.2 To ensure no bias exists between the examining doctor and plaintiff patient, the chosen doctor must not have any pre-existing doctor-patient relationship with coinciding confidential agreement.3

An IME is not necessary in every case, but there are certain instances when defendants or insurance companies may have a right to order that an IME be conducted. One instance is when the insurance policy has language that requires the injured party to submit to examination as a condition of receiving payout.4 Courts may also order an IME when the injury is reasonably in dispute.5 In order to conduct a proper IME the doctor performing the exam usually will be qualified based on possessing the medical knowledge and training of the specific area related to the subject case and also having experience, training, and special credentials in the same subject area.6

The Independent Medical Exam Report

The report that is compiled in the course of an IME should include a basic descriptive portion which includes the injury dates and summary of the conclusions, there is a history of the claim including references to the findings and review of the medical records, all conversations between the independent doctor and the injured party, and the diagnosis compiled based off of the physical examination.7 The injured party assists in completing the IME’s report by arriving on time for the examination, bring all relevant medical records, and complying with the exam by providing direct and concise answers.8

Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you have been involved in an accident that resulted in injury, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.


  1. http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/damages.html
  2. http://injury.findlaw.com/accident-injury-law/independent-medical-examination.html
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/personal-injury/independent-medical-exam.html
  7. Ibid.
  8. Ibid.