Frankel & Newfield represents many Florida disability insurance claimants whose claims have been denied, delayed or terminated. Florida is the most populous state in the southeast, and the fourth most populous state in the country. Many people who live in Florida today came from the northeast, eager to leave the cold climate behind and live in a warm tropical state where they can enjoy outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing all year long.
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While Florida is known as a tourist destination, that is only a part of the state’s economy. Several key commercial centers in Florida – Miami, Jacksonville and the state capital, Tallahassee, are busy with international trade and finance. The state has an extensive state university system and several colleges – University of Miami among them – draw professors and college students from across the county. Retirees from the entire Eastern seaboard and Canada come to Florida and a large economy has sprung up around their special needs: housing, entertainment, medical care, etc.
Florida Disability Claims and the Independent Medical Examination
An Independent Medical Examination (IME) is a standard request by an insurance company that is included in every long term disability insurance policy ever issued. It often seems excessive when the same disability insurance claims adjuster who has gathered extensive medical records then requests that the claimant go for an IME. It would seem that the disability insurance company already has all of the information that it might need. However by virtue of its inclusion in the contract, the insurance company does have a right to ask for an IME.
What most individuals making a claim do not understand is that there is nothing "independent" about an IME. The doctor making the examination of the patient is paid a very generous sum of money by the disability insurance company to conduct the exam. His client is not the person being examined, but the insurance company. There are entire medical practices that are geared solely to conducting IMEs for insurance companies. They don’t have to actually practice medicine.
It is important to understand this, so that when you go for an IME you know why you are there and what the doctor is looking for. Many people fall into a trap of trying to minimize their pain or their illness because they don’t want the doctor, an authority figure in a white lab coat, to dislike them, or judge them to be a malinger. This is a natural tendency that the doctor and the insurance company take advantage of.Ready To Talk?
When you are told to go for an IME, go with a friend or family member who can take notes. Do not volunteer information to the doctor, but just answer the questions you are asked. Be honest about what hurts and when, and about any limitations that you have because of your illness or injury. If you can, videotape or audiotape the examination.
Remember that the doctor wants to keep his/her client – the insurance company – happy. Their allegiance is not to you, even if they are a medical professional who has sworn to help people.
If you have questions about an IME, please call our office today to learn how representation from a skilled Florida disability attorney can help protect you and your family.Ready To Talk?
Justin Frankel is a founding partner of the disability insurance law firm Frankel & Newfield and is a highly skilled litigator and advocate. He has published numerous articles on the challenges facing clients with private or individual disability insurance policies and those who own group or ERISA disability insurance policies.
FILING A DISABILITY INSURANCE CLAIMSecrets the Disability Insurance Companies Don't Want You to know!
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