The term “independent” is inappropriate in describing many examinations of this type. When a doctor performs an examination on behalf of an employer, an insurance company or any other private party paying for the doctor’s time, use of the term “independent” is totally inappropriate. While there are some situations in which an examination is much more truly “independent” (such as when done for the Social Security Administration), the other party or insurer-paid examinations should be called an “insurance medical examination” or an “employer” examination. To do otherwise is unfair and deceptive if the IME doctor and/or his results are brought before a jury.
Many of the IME doctors now provide forms of “Information and Instructions” about their exams. As with most “fine print”, injured claimants and lawyer clients often fail to read the “fine print” and just sign these thinking that it’s something they must sign. Some of the forms include authorizations to obtain other information and even consent to the doctor taking photographs to document findings. These things may or may not be appropriate, depending on the situation. The best practice is for you and your lawyer to obtain copies of the documents for review prior to the examination so that any objectionable requests or items in the form can be addressed and rectified.
The bottom line is that this is another important aspect of the IME process and should not be taken for granted.