Asked to See a Portland Independent Medical Examiner?
Do I have to do the IME? What happens if they deny my treatments?
So if you found this video, it’s probably because you searched for something like a Portland Independent Medical Examiner or an IME.
I get questions about them all the time. I just got one today, and so I wanted to talk about it for a second. Here’s the situation. You’ve been in a car crash, and you probably don’t have a lawyer yet and your insurance, your PIP (Personal Injury Protection), the company that you bought your insurance from, is paying for your medical bills. You’re going to the doctor and you’re getting the treatment that you need, and then all of sudden they say, “Oh wait, we want to send you for an IME – an Oregon Independent Medical Examination.”
And the thing that you have to realize is there is nothing, absolutely nothing, independent about them. In fact we call them DME, or defense medical exams. And even though it’s your insurance company, they’re not doing you any favors. They are sending you to a doctor for one reason, and that’s because they hope that doctor will tell them, ‘Oh you’re fine, you don’t need to treat any more for your car crash that you were in, you should be done right now, that’s my medical opinion.’ If that happens then the insurance company, your insurance company, can stop paying for your medical bills.
So what are your options? I get calls from a lot of people who say, “Do I have to go?”
And the short answer is “Yeah – especially if you don’t have a lawyer.” Because if you don’t go, the insurance company will say you’re being uncooperative and by the terms of your contract with them you have to cooperate, and that’s a basis for just denying your benefits right there.
There is recourse. There’s things you can do, including suing your own insurance company to force them to pay your medical bills. So don’t be fooled by the independent in the Oregon Independent Medical Examination.
How we deal with this issue is, we have a whole medical department who tracks your treatment from the beginning (so the earlier you come to us the better) and because we’ve got a whole team working on that we’re sometimes able to get the medical exam canceled completely. Or if it happens, we keep your benefits from being denied.
That’s how it should be handled; proactively from the beginning, and when you’re looking for a lawyer ask about that. Ask about what kind of staff they have on hand to deal with medical issues as they arise – not a year later. If you find a good attorney from the beginning, who knows what they’re doing in these types of cases, you’ve got a much better chance of having this not happen. So my suggestion is talk to a really good lawyer who knows personal injury work and is a specialist in it, who can help you figure out how best to handle the Oregon independent medical examination.
[My natural inclination is, any good personal injury attorney would do that and it’s not true because most of them don’t do anything about it.]