An IME is a medical assesment where the medical examiner (doctor) does not treat the examinee (patient) and only sees them for the pusposes of the independent examination. It is the duty of the medical examiner is to impartially shed light onto aspects of the examinee's medical problems – usually, by answering a series of questions.
Various interested parties can request IMEs, including:
Insurance Companies and Agents
Legal Practitioners (Lawyers)
Courts and Tribunals
Individuals (the Patient)
IMEs must be objective and impartial. That means the answers to the questions should be the same no matter who referred the examinee.
Code of Coduct
Australian Courts have set out their expectations of Independent Medical Examiners (referred to by courts as "Expert Witnesses"). Although only a fraction of matters go to court; every IME should be conducted in accordance with the Expert Witness Code of Conduct. The main elements are:
The Medical Examiner has an overriding duty to assist the Court impartially relevant to his/her area of expertise
The Medical Examiner's duty is to the Court and not to the person retaining them
The Medical Examiner is not an advocate for a party
The Code of Conduct also specifies what a Independent Medical Examination report should contain:
The expert's name, qualifications and address
The facts, matters and assumptions on which each opinion expressed in the report is based (a letter of instructions may be annexed)
The reasons for, including any literature or other materials utilised in support of, each opinion
Any examinations, tests or other investigations on which the expert has relied, identifying the person who carried them out and that person's qualifications
If applicable, that a particular question, issue or matter falls outside the expert's field of expertise
A declaration that the expert has made all the inquiries which the expert believes are desirable and appropriate, and that no matters of significance which the expert regards as relevant have, to the knowledge of the expert, been withheld
Any qualification of an opinion expressed in the report without which the report is or may be incomplete or inaccurate
Whether any opinion expressed in the report is not a concluded opinion because of insufficient research or insufficient data or for any other reason
We believe in these principles and we conduct every IME in accordance with them.