The Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure allow for what the Rules call an “Independent Medical Examination” which usually goes by the letters “IME.” In spite of what the Rules may say to the contrary, there is no such thing as an “Independent” Medical Examination. The reality is that experienced Arizona personal injury lawyers and insurance defense lawyers know better. Unfortunately, it is the victims of serious personal injury in Arizona that are forced to go through these defense funded medical examinations through the insurance companies that are far too often deceived by the word “independent”.
The reality is that the insurance companies that defend personal injury cases probably do deserve the right to get an opinion other than that of plaintiff’s treating doctor or doctors. In other words, after a serious personal injury auto accident or any other serious injury caused by negligence, the person who is hurt is obviously going to have to seek the care of medical professionals. When the insurance company refuses to pay the claim to an Arizona resident – even if they are wrongfully denying payment to the injury victim in Arizona – they will have a right in any personal injury case to get an Independent Medical Examination.
Now, the examination is in fact “independent” of the treating doctors. However, the doctors who perform these exams for Arizona auto accident victims have a vested interest in the outcome. The insurance company pays the doctor who does the examination in the personal injury case. Some of these doctors make more than $500,000.00 every single year from doing these examinations. If these doctors do not find that there is no injury as the insurance company is hoping these doctors will state, will these doctors continue to get paid as much money every year?
If the doctors repeatedly and honestly believe that the person who was injured has the right to more money from the insurance company, will the insurance company continue to send hundreds of thousands of dollars their way on an annual basis? And, if there is any doubt in anyone’s mind as to whether or not these are actually objective examinations, why would they be called “independent”.
The reality is that these insurance companies often knowingly wrongfully deny claims to injury victims throughout the State of Arizona. From the Tucson automobile accident victim to the Phoenix car accident victim, the victim of a truck accident in Mesa, Arizona, and throughout the entire State, people who have the right to receive compensation from the insurance companies are not receiving it. Oftentimes, it is these “IME” examinations that prevent it. Why don’t we just call these examinations what they are? We propose that we simply keep the letters “IME” and call these insurance company funded medical reviews and examinations what they are “Insurance Medical Examinations.”
If you or anyone you know is being asked to go to a doctor that’s being paid for by an insurance company, we strongly encourage you to first meet with a skilled and experienced Arizona personal injury lawyer who has the experience and knowledge necessary to know what the insurance companies may get away with, and what can be prevented. Far too many innocent victims of Arizona car accidents have been taken advantage of because of exactly these types of examinations.