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What can I do to protect myself during an IME exam requested by my disability insurance company?



What if anything could you recommend to people who are watching could do to try to protect themselves during an alleged independent medical exam?

In some states, for instance in Florida a disability claimant has the right to take a third party with them to that independent medical examination in individual disability insurance cases. If you have a private policy you have that type of right to take your attorney, a court reporter, a videographer to that independent medical examination with you to make sure that everything that will later be said to have occurred during that independent medical examination actually occurred the way they say it. In other cases, in ERISA cases, it’s kind of a grey area often the insurance companies would allow you to do that to take someone with you, or to have a videographer to record the whole thing.

So, would you recommend to try to videotape an independent exam if available to you?

You know I think you have to deal with it on a case-by-case basis, not every independent medical examination calls to have a videographer there or calls to have a court reporter there to take everything down but I think it’s a good way to ensure that things happen the way they say it happened during that independent medical examination.

I think at a minimum, definitely bring a third party with you or someone so that you can dispute anything that is said and you want to dispute it.

There are 18 opinions so far. Add your comment below.

Lee:

My Insurance Company, The Hartford, denied me the right to either video or bring another person to an upcoming IME. I don’t trust The Hartford or the doctors they have in their back pocket, and I know this is another tactic to deny my LTD, even after three doctors and the Social Security Administration says I am permanently disabled.

I know I have to go, but is there anything else I can do to protect myself and my family?

Attorney Greg Dell:

Lee,

You can try to bring an observer with you to the IME exam. Have the observer take notes and then write a sworn report following the exam.

Lee:

They will not allow anyone else in the room when this Doctor examines me. As I said, I know this is just another tactic that The Hartford uses to deny my LTD. They tried video and one of their field “interrogations” already.

It’s really a joke the Laws allow The Hartford to basically do whatever they want. Sorry to preach, but I’m sick of their harassment. One has to jump through hoops for them, fake doctor exams, and the law knows it.

Jon:

Lee,

I understand what you’re going through I was also denied a witness or permission to record or video tape my IME. I think it ironic they find videotaping you without your knowledge doing the most innocuous of activities relevant to your claim and justifiable, but they find it irrelevant, and suspicious of the claimant to document their medical evaluation by an insurance company doctor where no doctor patient confidentiality exists, and they are the sole witness to the event. I guess thats what they mean by history is written by the winners.

Dave:

I am being sent for an IME in Florida from an injury from 4 years ago.

This is with Sedgwick claims. I am harassed every month for more notes, more notes, and now this? Just a letter in the mail basically saying be there or else. Am I entitled to bring someone with me, and if I am denied to have someone in the exam, which I have no intentions of dealing with politely, what can they do to me?

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Dave,

Depending on the nature of the claim you do have the right to have the IME videotaped in Florida. Is your claim for disability insurance benefits or Worker’s Compensation?

Janis Devries:

Hello,

I have a 12 year old back injury and have work. comp. involved and a lawyer. I have had several IME exams ordered through the insurance company. I am already aware that these doctors will lie about your injuries in favor of work comp because that is who pays them.

My question is this: is like my 7th IME exam that they have requested and I was told that i could not have a witness (observer) in the exam room with me. My daughter (a cop) wants to be in the exam room with me this time and i want her there. Can I have her there in the exam room?

Thank you for your time.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Janis,

If you are already represented by counsel, you will need to discuss your questions with him/her. Additionally, as your claim is for Worker’s Compensation and not a Disability Insurance matter we would not be the appropriate resource to answer your questions. If your attorney does not handle Worker’s Compensation claims, then you will need to discuss with one who does. We wish you the best.

Brandy:

I have had psoriasis since I was 6 years old I have had been treating it since I was young as I grew up it worsened I take a biological drug my diagnosis for sdi is is psoriasis, my doctor reduced my work hours to 32 hours a week due to my psoriasis however, my medication works by me dosing in ten weeks rather than 12 weeks due to the fact I still had break outs. I filed for short term disibiltiy for one year meamong md prodicts meto be fully functional once the medication works properly however its only been been 8 months now I just got diagnosed with fibromyalgia now as well my question is this..

If my skin has small lesions not significant due to medical treatment and reduced work hours than will I be denied my disability? I’m concerned because I need to work full time to survive in the economy however, disability has allowed me to a better quality of life by supplementing me 8 hours of pay per week. The Dr I’m being sent to has a health star of one I’m really worried psoriasis is know to flare and these days and arent known currently I have minor lessons the medical examiner can deny me have a classified disability of psoriasis if it shows minor due to medical treatment? What should I do? I live in California.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Brandy, if the medical records and or your doctors do not support potential continued benefits based on the current status of your condition then you could very well be denied benefits. Also, diagnosis alone does not equal disability- there has to be a correlation how the condition is currently preventing you from working. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your claim in further detail.

Mel:

I have been on ltd for 12 yrs , from a bleeding avm , in my brain. That was behind the octive nerve, after 2 separate Gama knife procedure, i was left with a constant head pain in my head , a stabbing effect in my rt eye off , and on an avg of 6 time a wk , i get so dizzy that i have to sit dn or pull to side of rd if driving and just hold my head till it goes away . And i hv a constant hazy noise in my head that has volume, doctors say this may hv been caused by gama scare tissue , now my co. Is sending me to a IME , what is your thoughts , also my doctor has always told them i can’t work , but i am ambulatory. .

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Mel, anytime a carrier wants an IME there is some level of concern, but given your medical history you may have less concern than most. That being said, it is wise to have a level of skepticism. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your situation prior to your IME.

Rick F.:

I live in Florida. I have been disabled since March 2014 due to rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. I receive SS benefits since September ’14. I purchased a long term disability policy from the Hartford through my employer. The Hartford denied me almost immediately. I appealed that decision and returning for an IME. Is there anything I can do to protect myself from unethical doctors and receive the benefits I bought and paid for? Thank you for your time.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Rick, has your appeal been denied? If so, your only option may be to bring a lawsuit against Hartford. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss same.

Lee:

Greetings, I went to an ime September 2017, the ime refused to allow me to have a stenographer or video present for the examination. My question is this: on October 12 I received an email from my claims adjuster that the ime “ didn’t answer all of our questions.” I thought the insurance carrier, in this case Great American Insurance – trucking division, was not allowed to have any contact with or form any type of questions to be given to the ime? All the carrier is trying to do is get out of paying for a multi level acdf. This is a Florida policy, I am a Florida resident.

Another question please is a “qualified medical advisor” the same as an independent medical examiner under Florida statute?

Thank you,
Lee

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Lee, was this for a disability insurance policy? If not, we would not be able to properly address your questions pertaining to the IME as they would fall outside the scope of our practice area.

Susan:

Due to pain, I have trouble sitting for long periods. During an ima the physician offered for me to take a break. I was very intimidated and just wanted it over with as soon as possible. Social grace politely had me decling the break. Will this be held against me? I was uncomfortable but endured.

Attorney Stephen Jessup:

Susan, the best answer that we could give is possibly. I have seen in IME exams notations of a persons ability to sit for prolonged periods as justification for arguing a “sedentary” ability to work. Without knowing more of the facts and circumstances surrounding your claim it would be hard to tell how it might affect your specific claim. Please feel free to contact our office to discuss your situation in greater detail.

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