Home Medical Malpractice There Is No Such Thing as an ‘IME’ in New Jersey Injury Litigation

There Is No Such Thing as an ‘IME’ in New Jersey Injury Litigation

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I have been involved in thousands of injury cases in my 22 years of practice and have yet to see an “independent” medical examination, aka “IME.” Instead I typically see a defense medical exam by an insurance doctor who is paid six or seven figures each year to do these exams. The doctor is not there to find the truth, but to serve their clients: the insurance company and defense law firm. These exams are the farthest thing from independent. These doctors typically downplay the injury, suggest the plaintiff is exaggerating and misstate what happened at the exam. As a matter of fundamental fairness, the injured plaintiff should be permitted to bring a nurse to the defense medical exam to observe, take notes and record it. 

In personal injury lawsuits there is almost always an insurance company that controls the defense. Under New Jersey Court Rule 4:19, “Physical And Mental Examination Of Persons,” the insurance company or defense counsel will arrange to have the plaintiff examined by their doctor. Defense attorneys call this an “IME,” but there is nothing independent about it. For starters, Rule 4:19 states in pertinent part, “In an action in which a claim is asserted by a party for personal injuries or in which the mental or physical condition of a party is in controversy, the adverse party may require the [plaintiff] to submit to a physical or mental examination ….” (emphasis added). The defense medical exam (“DME”) is by rule, adversarial.



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