It is a common practice of an insurance company to order a person to an independent medical examination or “IME” in order to determine, using their own doctor, the status of the disability. However, often times the IME is far away, at an inconvenient time, or possibly poses more danger to the person’s health. The person may feel like, or have even been told, that if they do not show up to the examination, their claim or benefits will be denied.
The independent medical examination can be a tricky and scary part of the disability insurance claim process. But the Courts have addressed this issue and found that an IME must be reasonable. So, what does reasonable mean?
If the person is someone who is suffering from severe back pain, submitting to another exam may leave them worse off. Or if the IME is scheduled with a doctor who is 100 miles away, the time and effort to get to the exam is unnecessarily burdensome. The courts have found that examples like this are unreasonable. They pose a greater risk to the person and make it nearly impossible for them to even attend the exam.
It is possible for the person to object to the IME, but that may not go well with the insurance company. In this case, you have to have a good faith reason for not attending the exam. It is also an option to request to have an attorney present with you while you attend the exam. This is another good way of making sure everything with the IME is appropriate and reasonable.
If you have filed a claim for disability insurance benefits and have been requested by the insurance company to attend an independent medical examination, it is to your benefit to have an attorney help you through this process. Your attorney can contact your doctors and have a letter written explaining why attending an IME may be detrimental to your condition or can object to the IME if it is in an inconvenient location or time. Having an experienced attorney review your claim and the request for the IME may help avoid any unnecessary or unreasonable burden to you.