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FAQ Friday#7 – Uninsured drivers and IME Insurance Medical Examinations

Hi everybody Washington State personal injury attorney Matt Dubin here for our next installment of FAQ Friday I think you Friday as you know is where I will answer any questions that you’ve got about car accidents auto insurance personal injury claims anything regarding the civil justice system I’m doing this as a service to you I know that this isn’t really stuff that they teach in school and I want to be a resource to you whether you or someone you know has been involved in an accident or you’re just concerned about car insurance coverage for your teenage kids or if you know somebody who has an issue involving personal injury I’d like to be a resource for you just a reminder we’ve got an ongoing contest right now on facebook on both our Seattle and our Everett pages where we are giving away a bright tax car seat this is a front-facing booster seat it’s a really great car seat and so go check us out on Facebook either our Seattle page or what or our every page or both and follow the instructions to enter to get your car seat okay so let’s get right to it we’ve got two questions today the first is from Priscilla who asks what happens if I get hit by a car who has no insurance and this is really one of the most common questions that I get i’ve actually addressed it I think in the very first FAQ Friday some time ago it’s worth repeating I will refer you back and by the way we’re gonna have all of our FAQ Friday videos archived you can click on the video link on our page on Facebook see them that way we’re gonna add them all to our YouTube channel so you can go to youtube and subscribe to our Channel and you’ll get all these videos also and we’re also working on putting together an archive on our website so we’ve got an entire page dedicated to video FA cues and this question will certainly be answered there the answer to the question is if you really want to be protected in the event that you are hit by an uninsured driver you need to make sure that you have uninsured motorist coverage that’s a coverage that you need to get through your own insurance in Washington uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage or bundled together if you have one you have the other but it’s really up to you to make sure that you’re protected even though here in Washington the law requires that drivers carry at least 25,000 dollars of liability insurance the reality is that nearly 20% of drivers on the road don’t have insurance and if you get hit by one of those uninsured drivers and you don’t have uninsured motorist coverage your only recourse is to take them to court get a judgment against them and then try to collect it either through garnishing their wages or having the sheriff seize their assets and auction them off and the reality is you’re unlikely to ever see a penny of that so now similarly if someone only has 25 thousand dollars of insurance and you’ve suffered a serious injury they are underinsured and so your UI m um coverage will cover you both if the person who hits you is uninsured or underinsured so check your auto insurance speak with your agent call them up max out your uninsured and underinsured coverage people sometimes ask me how much should I get and the answer is as much as you can afford really this is to protect you and you never know what’s around the next corner I’ve met some people just this week who’ve been terribly terribly injured in serious accidents and one of them had no uninsured motorist coverage at all the the person who hit him at 25,000 dollars of liability coverage so that’s all he can get and it’s really a tragedy in situations like that so get get your uninsured underinsured motorist coverage the next question is from Jenny and it has to do with the independent medical examination or an IME and the question was my insurance company is requesting an IME what does this mean well I could talk about this for a long time but I’ll try and keep it brief I am me the initials I am e stand for independent medical examination but in reality what it should be called is insurance medical examination there are two situations where it comes up one is when you’ve been in an accident and your own insurance is paying for your medical bills under your pip or personal injury protection coverage now you’ve got a contract with your insurance company and one of the things that it requires is it requires you to cooperate with them so they have a right as long as they’re paying for your treatment to require you to be examined by a doctor that they choose that’s the insurance medical examination or the IME you really have no choice if you want them to continue paying your bills you’ve got to participate in this in this IME and the likelihood is that the doctor look the doctors that the insurance companies use for these exams they know where their bread is buttered right the insurance companies will keep going back to the doctors who tell the insurance companies what they want to hear and what the insurance company wants to hear is that they shouldn’t pay for any more treatment that your treatments not reasonable it’s not related to the accident or you know it’s related to something else they shouldn’t pay for it and they’ll rely on that and they’ll stop paying but if you don’t go to the exam then you’re not cooperating with them and they can stop paying anyway you have a right to have a observer present and typically we will send someone from our office or a nurse consultant that we hire to go and accompany you to your IME but if you want them to pay you need to continue to do it now there’s a second kind which is also called the CR thirty five exam that civil rule 35 that’s when you’ve already filed a lawsuit and you’re claiming that you have an ongoing medical condition that the defendant in that case the insurance for the person who you are making a claim again they have a right to have you examined by a doctor and again the purpose is to have that doctor testify against you at trial so there’s nothing independent about these examinations it’s an insurance medical examination again in most cases particularly if you have ongoing problems you’re gonna have to participate in this examination be examined by the insurance companies doctors they might make recommendations but it’s important to always remember a couple things when you go to an IME the doctor is not there to help you they are not your doctor they are not there to treat you they are there to either cut you off from payments by your insurance company or to to provide ammunition to the defendants in a lawsuit to defeat your claims so well you don’t want to be dishonest in fact that’s the worst thing you could do is be enrolled on these motion sensing lights should come back on there we go you always want to be honest you always want to be honest but you don’t want to get casual and conversational with these doctors let them do their examination let them take their history and ask questions and you answer their questions honestly whether it’s an IME or a deposition the worst thing you could do is say something that’s not true but as long as you understand they’re not your friend they’re not your doctor and they’re not there to help you you’ll at least have your guard up so you’ll be aware you’ll be careful about what you say and how you say it because it can and will be used against you the other thing is don’t let them do anything that hurts you or aggravates your condition if you’re in one of these imes and a doctor asks you to hold your body in a certain position or lift something that you know is going to aggravate your injury don’t do it you should tell you that but you don’t have to do anything that’s going to aggravate your condition if you remember these basic things an IME doesn’t need to be scary they’re very common they happen all the time hopefully you’ve got an attorney on board who can help guide you through this process and educate you on what to expect going into it and what you should do when you’re there I will just add if you do have PIP coverage and you go to an IME and your insurance cuts you off that doesn’t mean you’re all better and it doesn’t mean you don’t need treatment if you and your doctors have decided that you do need treatment and your PIP carrier cuts you off there’s always other alternatives to get the treatment you need you can go through your health insurance you can pay cash you can get a provider to treat you on a lien and get paid later so don’t let any insurance company tell you you don’t need treatment if you and your doctors feel like you do nobody knows what you need better than you and you need to be your own advocate so whether you have it a lawyer or not that’s the case so Jenny I hope that answers your question and Priscilla the question about uninsured driver there’s a ton of stuff on our website which is Dubin law office calm about imes and uninsured motorists and like I said enter our contest to win the car seat on Facebook and we will see you next Friday for the next installment of FAQ Friday from me and from all of us here at the Dubin Law Group be safe and I’ll see you next week.