When you suffer an injury on the job or in an accident, you may be asked to undergo an Independent Medical Exam (IME) to determine the extent of your injuries and your ability to work.

This exam is supposed to be an impartial evaluation by a doctor who has no affiliation with either party involved in the claim. However, the truth is that IMEs are often far from independent.

In this article, we will take a closer look at IMEs and how they operate, exposing why they are not always as fair as they appear to be. You’ll discover the secrets behind these exams and why they are often skewed against you.

What is an IME?

An Independent Medical Exam is an evaluation conducted by a doctor who is not your regular physician. It is typically requested by an employer or an insurance company when you file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

The doctor will examine you, review your medical records, and provide a report on your injuries and your ability to work.

How Does an IME Work?

An IME is typically scheduled by the employer or insurance company, and you will be notified of the date, time, and location. You will need to bring any relevant medical records with you to the exam. The doctor will examine you and ask questions about your medical history and the circumstances of your injury. They may also ask you to perform certain tasks or exercises to assess your physical capabilities.

Why Are IMEs Controversial?

While IMEs are supposed to be impartial, there are several reasons why they are controversial.


IME doctors are often hired and paid for by the insurance company or employer, which can create a conflict of interest. The doctor may feel pressure to downplay the extent of your injuries or disability to minimize the cost of the claim.

Lack of Qualifications

IME doctors may not have the same level of expertise or specialization as your regular physician. They may not have access to your medical records or be familiar with your unique medical history and needs.

Inadequate Examination

IME doctors may spend as little as 15 minutes with you during the exam, which may not be enough time to fully assess your condition. They may also not perform certain tests or procedures that your regular physician would, which can lead to an incomplete or inaccurate evaluation.

Negative Impact on Your Claim

If the IME doctor’s report is used as evidence in your personal injury claim, it can significantly impact the outcome. A biased or inaccurate report can be used to deny your claim or reduce the amount of compensation you receive.

Are IMEs Mandatory? 

In certain situations, you may be required to attend an IME even if you don’t want to. If you file a personal injury lawsuit claiming physical injuries, a court can compel you to attend an IME.

This means the defendant can request that the court order you to submit to an IME, or the court may initiate the motion. Refusing to attend the IME can result in the dismissal of your lawsuit.

The rationale behind this requirement is to ensure that the defendant or insurance company can verify the severity of your injuries and understand the extent of your damages.

While you may feel that an IME is unnecessary, it is a common practice in personal injury cases. Failing to comply with a court order can have serious consequences.

What’s in the IME Report? 

After conducting the IME, the medical examiner must complete a report, which all parties involved in the personal injury lawsuit have the right to review. 

The report should:

  • Start with an introductory section containing basic descriptive data, including the dates of the injury and a summary of the doctor’s conclusions
  • Document the initial conversation between you and the medical examiner
  • Document the findings of the physical examination in detail
  • Provide a diagnosis and prognosis based on the examination and supported by objective medical evidence
  • Include any recommendations for further evaluation or medical treatment

What Can You Do?

If you are scheduled to undergo an IME, there are several things you can do to protect your rights. Here are five.

Be Prepared

To prepare for an IME, you should bring relevant medical records, including X-rays and MRI scans, to the exam. You should also be ready to answer questions about your medical history, symptoms, and injury circumstances.

Be honest and thorough in your answers, as misleading or incomplete information can hurt your case. Finally, list your questions or concerns about the exam or your injuries and bring them with you.

Request a Copy of the Report

After the IME, you can request a copy of the report. You should review it carefully to ensure that it is accurate and unbiased. If there are any errors or inaccuracies, you should bring them to the attention of your attorney or the insurance company.

If the report is biased or incomplete, your attorney may be able to challenge it in court or use it as evidence in your case.

Challenge the Report

You can challenge the IME report in court if you believe it is biased or inaccurate. Your attorney can help you file a motion to exclude the report or bring in your expert witness to provide an alternative evaluation. It is important to act quickly, as there may be a deadline for challenging the report.

Hire a Personal Injury Attorney

If you are facing an IME, hiring a personal injury attorney with experience with these exams is important. An attorney can help you prepare for the exam, review the report, and challenge it if necessary. They can also help you navigate the legal process and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. 

Doing so can help ensure that your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation and care you deserve.

Do you have questions about the IME or need assistance with your claim? Contact Injury.io today.


Justice McDaniel is an experienced copywriter and blogger. She has over three years of experience providing outstanding legal content that ranks.