In many Florida car accident cases the insurance company requests an Independent Medical Examination (IME). The IME typically includes a physical examination of the injured party and is typically held at the insurance company’s physician’s office. Any IME can be burdensome on the injured party, and plaintiffs’ attorneys are often asked by their clients whether they have to participate.
In short, the answer is yes as the insurer’s right to obtain an IME is an integral party of the no-fault laws of Florida. Under Florida insurance laws, whenever the mental or physical condition of an injured person covered by Personal Injury Protection(PIP) insurance is “material” to any claim for benefits, the insurer can require the claimant (injured party) to submit to an independent medical examination.
If the insured party misses an IME appointment arranged by the PIP carrier, benefits may be denied as same is considered a material breach of the insurance contract. Additionally, if the Plaintiff fails to attend an IME, the insurer may be discharged from the responsibility of paying any medical bills incurred before the exam but received by the insurer after benefits have been terminated.
When dealing with no-fault insurance benefits, Florida law can be intricate and to error on the side of caution each insurance contract should be examined on an individual basis. In almost every instance an insured will have to submit to an IME should the insurer request an examination and failing to do so may discharge the insurance companies responsibility to pay benefits.