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How Should I Handle an Independent Medical Exam?

How Should I Handle an Independent Medical Exam?

When you apply for long-term disability benefits, most insurance policies provide that the insurance company can require you to undergo an independent medical exam (IME). Insurance companies hire doctors to perform IMEs; as a result, IMEs can often lead to a denial of long-term disability benefits. The fact is that IME doctors want to keep doing business with the insurance companies, which may cause them to be less objective than they should be in evaluating your medical conditions. Therefore, it is important to know what to expect from an IME and how you should prepare for it.

Unfortunately, you don’t get to choose the doctor who conducts your IME. While you might prefer that your primary care physician perform your IME, the insurance company has the right to select the doctor to perform the IME. These doctors are specifically trained in conducting IMEs and are knowledgeable about long-term disability claims. Like it or not, your insurance policy likely requires you to attend an IME with a doctor chosen by the insurance company. Failure to cooperate in undergoing this exam could disqualify you from receiving long-term disability benefits.

When you go to your IME as scheduled, you may want to bring along a trusted friend or relative to observe the exam, as well as take notes about how long the exam lasted, what questions the doctor asked, and what tests the doctor performed. After your IME, you also should write down your impressions of the exam, including any comments made by the doctor about your medical condition, tests that he or she had you perform, and questions that you answered. You are entitled to the report that the doctor produces from the IME. You should obtain a copy of this report, review it carefully, identify any inaccuracies, and immediately notify your attorney of these inaccuracies. If you have an attorney representing you for the LTD policy prior to the IME, many offices will send a staff member – or hire a med-legal nurse – to attend the IME with you.

Long-term disability claims are complex matters that require intensive knowledge of ERISA laws and regulations. As a result, you will need experienced legal representation and advice to pursue an ERISA-governed disability claim. Bonnici Law Group is a law firm focusing on ERISA long-term disability benefits and bicycle injury cases in San Diego, CA. When you need effective legal representation, contact Bonnici Law Group at 619-259-5199 or email us at help@bonnicilawgroup.com.

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