The insurance companies use a lot of different legal strategies to avoid paying you the benefits you deserve under your Michigan no-fault insurance policy. One of those strategies is the use of an “independent medical exam.”The Michigan court rules specifically allow for parties in any personal injury lawsuit to investigate the medical claims. One way they can do that is by requiring the injured party to be examined by an “independent” medical expert.
The Michigan No Fault Insurance Act requires your auto insurance provider to pay for any medical expenses reasonably necessary to treat any injury resulting from an automobile accident. To defend against these claims, your insurance company hires doctors to determine whether you had any preexisting conditions with ongoing treatments that can be excluded. The doctor also determines if there are injuries not related to the accident, and whether any treatments were not reasonably necessary.
To do this the independent medical examiner will be given copies of your medical records. After reviewing those records, you will be asked to come in for the examination. You’ll be asked to fill out a medical history form. Find out from your attorney whether you should fill out that form. Then the doctor will ask you about your current health, all of your injuries, and how the accident has affected your lifestyle. Then the independent medical examiner will perform a short in-person physical examination. After the examination, the doctor will make a recommendation on whether or not the insurance company should pay you benefits.
Some of these independent medical exam doctors make a career out of providing these recommendations, earning their living from the insurance companies. It should come as no surprise, then, that the doctors almost never find that benefits are appropriate. Instead you can expect the report of the independent medical examiner to say one of these things:
- The injury was unrelated to the accident.
- The accident was related to the accident, but full recovery has already been achieved.
Don’t worry. This isn’t the end of your case. It will, however, affect the insurance company’s willingness to settle. The insurance companies take the independent medical examiners at their word. So if the doctor says an injury is unrelated, the insurance company will refuse to pay for that injury’s treatments.
But the judge and jury may not agree with the independent medical examination. Your auto accident attorneys from Christensen Law will work with your medical providers and experts to prove that your injuries are related to your accident, and that your treatments were medically necessary for your recovery. That way you can be compensated for all of your medical expenses.