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Impact of Independent Medical Exams in a Medical Malpractice Case

Every medical malpractice lawsuit revolves around a doctor’s choices when providing treatment. To prevail in these cases, you need to prove a doctor’s failure to provide adequate care resulted in an injury that negatively impacted your life. One common defense against these allegations is that the alleged malpractice did not result in any new health concerns.

independent medical exam

To this end, a defendant doctor and his legal counsel may request you submit to an independent medical exam or IME. These exams are legal and allow for a supposedly non-biased view of your injuries. Defendants often use these to argue that while malpractice may have occurred, the damages were not as severe as you allege. The impact of an independent medical exam in a medical malpractice case can be substantial. It is essential to have strong legal support from a medical malpractice attorney to combat the results of these exams.

Why Defendants Insist Upon Independent Medical Exams

In every medical malpractice case, the plaintiff bears the burden of demonstrating that malpractice occurred and that this misconduct impacted his or her life. Because of this, the evidence consists of the original medical records from the defendant’s treatment and an expert’s report. Understandably, this report will take a pro-plaintiff angle. A plaintiff will point to these reports during a trial or settlement negotiations as proof of fault.

Defendants have the right to request an independent medical exam to rebut the plaintiff’s expert’s findings. This doctor will perform a personal examination of the individual to determine the cause of an injury and the resulting severity. The defendant will pay for this exam, and the results often favor the defense’s case. As a result, the impact of an independent medical exam can be significant in a medical malpractice case.

Fighting Back Against IMEs

While independent medical exams can play a significant role in a defendant doctor’s case, they are not infallible pieces of evidence. A legal representative could help contest the validity of these reports and present evidence that refutes his or her conclusions in court.

One limiting factor to IMEs is that the doctor performing the exam has limited time and resources to spend on the matter. They may only receive partial reports from defense counsel, forcing them to make conclusions with insufficient information. They will also have only a short time to examine the patient and have not been a witness to how a condition has progressed over time.

It may also be possible for an attorney to argue that an IME doctor’s findings are biased. With these doctors working for defense counsel or medical malpractice insurance providers, legal counsel could argue that they entered the exam with an agenda and that his or her findings should be subject to increased scrutiny.

It is essential to be able to dispute these reports within a relatively short period. Ohio Revised Code § 2305.113 says that people may have no more than one year after an incident to bring a case to court. The complexity of a medical malpractice case is not a valid reason to request an extension. As such, quickly evaluating and disputing the impact an IME has on a claim is critical to many medical malpractice cases in Cleveland.

An Attorney Could Help Limit the Impact of Independent Medical Exams in a Medical Malpractice Case

Independent medical exams are a common defense tactic in medical malpractice cases. The idea is to have an impartial doctor evaluate the medical records and examine the injured party. However, these exams are not truly independent but may still profoundly impact a case.

Let a lawyer take the lead in fighting against the impact of independent medical exams in a medical malpractice case. They could work to dispute the impartiality of a doctor’s exam and balance the findings of these reports against the conclusions of your experts. Call Tittle & Perlmuter today to discuss your claim.