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Independent Medical Examinations and Psychology

Second opinion evaluations are usually called IME's (Independent Medical Evaluations) regardless of the type of evaluation performed. A second opinion is requested for several reasons. The individual may have been in treatment for an extended period of time, so that there is concern regarding whether the treatment continues to be medically indicated, whether treatment will be required for an extended period into the future, whether continued treatment is related to a specific event, or whether there are any permanent disabilities as a result of the trauma. Since IMEs are usually requested in connection with traumatic injury and litigation, the question also arises regarding whether there is any indication of malingering.

A second opinion evaluation is identical to a personal injury evaluation, except the individual does not select the examiner. The psychologist completing an IME is typically engaged by either the insurance carrier, or the defendant in a litigation case. As such, the individual being evaluated is not always completely candid with the evaluator, and at times there is a hostile relationship, involving considerable suspicion. Psychologists completing IMEs must be careful not to overstate test findings, or over interpret resistance on the part of the person being evaluated, because this suspiciousness is normal and to be expected. It does not reflect evidence of a bogus claim. However, statements regarding injuries should not be taken at face value without examining the individual for signs of the symptoms reported. Of course, this should be part of any personal injury evaluation. 

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