Independent Medical Examinations (IME) are a common practice in Ontario, and are often used by insurance companies to deny benefits, or employers to challenge accommodation requests. An IME is a medical assessment conducted by an independent physician, rather than the doctor that normally provides treatment. The objective is to have a neutral third party opinion on the extent of injuries claimed by the victim, though the independence of these examinations is questionable, since the physician is recommended and paid by the party requesting an IME, and they do not owe a duty of care to the victim.
An insurance company will usually request an IME in cases where there are benefit payouts, whether it be from an accident or long term disability claim, especially if the insurance company feels as if injuries are being exaggerated by the claimant. If a claimant is receiving benefits and refuses to attend an IME, their benefits will most likely be terminated. Often disability insurance contracts provide for the right to request an IME. According to an article published by the Toronto Sun, insurance companies request IMEs for almost half of their claimants, while it accounts for 25% of their total health claim expenses (Shannof, 2014). Insurance companies are responsible for paying their examiners, which averaged $4,930 per claimant (Shannof, 2014).
There are some tips that can be followed during your IME:
- Bring a list of your medications, physicians who have provided treatment, symptoms, and restrictions.
- Bring any important medical documents (X-rays, CT-scans, Ultrasounds etc.)
- Bring a family member or friend for support (they may not be allowed inside during the examination).
- Be honest about limitations.
- Take notes after the examination. Record the types of questions asked and examinations conducted.
- Speak with your lawyer before the IME to review what may occur during the assessment how to conduct yourself.
- Do not exaggerate pain or symptoms.
- Do not discuss your legal case with the assessor and do not volunteer information.
- Dress appropriately and be polite.
At Kotak Law, our practice focuses on helping clients receive short term and long term disability compensation when their ability to work has been impacted by illness, injury or disease. We have extensive experience in the resolution of disability claims that have been denied as a result of a biased IME. Unfortunately, many individuals who genuinely suffer disabling symptoms are denied short term and long term disability benefits by their insurance company.
KOTAK PERSONAL INJURY LAW/DISABILITY LAWYERS CAN HELP YOU
We understand that being denied short-term disability or long-term disability benefits can be frustrating and devastating. Your time to fight your disability insurance company is limited. Please do not delay in calling a disability claim lawyer at Kotak Personal Injury Law. We have successfully sued numerous disability insurance companies including Manulife, Sunlife, Desjardins, Great West Life, Canada Life, Blue Cross, Equitable Life, London Life, Empire Life, AIG, SSQ, RBC, Industrial Alliance and more.
Call your trusted long term disability lawyers at 1-888-GOKOTAK (Toll Free for all of Canada), or (416) 816-1500 (Local Number for Ontario Residents), (403) 319-0071, (587) 414-1010 (Local Numbers for Alberta Residents). Our consultation is free and we don’t get paid until you do. We will meet you by telephone, email or videoconference. We represent disabled people throughout Ontario and Alberta, including Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Georgetown, Orangeville, Oakville, Burlington, Hamilton, St.Catharines, Niagara Falls, Stoney Creek, Kitchener/Waterloo, Cambridge, London, Windsor, Markham, Pickering, Oshawa, Peterborough, Keswick, Kingston, Ottawa, Banff, Brooks, Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Jasper, Lake Louise, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Red Deer, Saint Albert and other locations.