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The facts about independent medical examinations

One way insurance companies may try to turn you down for an injury claim is to say that whatever injuries you have sustained are either exaggerated, misdiagnosed, or do not exist. Showing the results of medical exams from your Texas doctor that prove you have indeed been hurt can show you are deserving of benefits. But then an insurer throws another hurdle your way, claiming that you used a doctor that is too biased in your favor. They want an independent medical examination conducted instead before they will proceed with your claim.

There are several things anyone should understand about independent medical examinations. First, they are not always needed. According to Findlaw, if you are in a car accident and are only filing a claim for damages to your car, you do not need to undergo an independent medical examination since you are not filing for physical injuries. An independent exam is also not required if your injuries have already healed up.

Hardship can be another issue. Your own personal doctor may be easy to travel to, but journeying to the site of an independent doctor may be too burdensome. The distance to the independent exam may be too far. You may not have a vehicle or may be too physically hurt to drive or make a long trip. Basically, circumstances that make traveling to an independent medical exam site too burdensome can disqualify you from having to take an independent exam.

In the event you want to take an independent exam or are compelled to do so by a court, remember that you can consult with an attorney on your next move. The insurer may insist on their own doctor performing the examination, but you or your attorney may find the doctor too biased in favor of the insurance company’s interests. In such a case, if the victim and the insurer cannot agree on a doctor, a judge may intervene and appoint a physician to handle the exam.

You may be entitled to other rights to ensure the independent examination process is fair. In some circumstances, the victim’s attorney may attend the exam itself. The American Bar Association also points out that courts in some states allow the exam to be recorded, but this will not always be the case. For example, courts in states like Washington, California and Arizona have permitted attorney observations, but a Missouri court denied such a request. However, federal courts have in some instances permitted attorneys to attend independent medical exams.

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Jon Michael Smith Attorney

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