What is an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?

Rutter Mills Law Firm

What is an Independent Medical Examination (IME)?

Legal Info

An independent medical examination, or an “IME,” is also commonly referred to as a compulsory medical examination or a “CME.” It is an exam performed by a doctor who is not your treating physician– to verify the injuries you have claimed in a lawsuit.

A CME, or IME, is a litigation tool that insurance companies often use to attack a plaintiff’s credibility and reduce an award or settlement. If you are asked to submit to one of these exams, it is essential to discuss this with your personal injury lawyer because the way you handle this can have a significant impact on your case.

The purpose of a compulsory medical examination

When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you have the burden of producing evidence that proves how serious your injuries are and that the accident caused them.

The defense has the option of challenging your evidence, including the option of producing its own evidence. The insurance company paying for the other party’s defense often does this by sending you to a doctor who will testify on the defendant’s defense. In other words, this doctor performing the CME is not seeing you for your benefit but solely to diminish your case.

If your lawsuit is against your insurance company– for example, if you have filed an uninsured motorist claim, the company may still request you submit to an exam in what is known as a “first party” IME. This serves the same purpose as a “third party” examination requested by the defendant’s insurer, which is to minimize your claim.

What to expect at an IME

Defense lawyers and insurance companies have lists of favored doctors who are most likely to give them a report that downplays the claimed injuries. The doctors do not work for you, so you should be very cautious about how you act. While you want the doctor to see that you are relaxed, honest, and likable, you will still need to be cautious. Your personal injury attorney will give you instructions on how to conduct yourself.

The doctor may ask about how you are feeling, request you to move in specific ways that demonstrate your range of motion and otherwise examine you. Never downplay your symptoms and be on guard for questions about other parts of your life. The doctor very well may try to blame your pain on other activities, past injuries, or even aging.

Contact us at Rutter Mills for a free consultation

The best way to be prepared for an IME is to choose a competent personal injury lawyer. If you were injured in Portsmouth, Norfolk, or another part of Eastern Virginia, call our team at Rutter Mills. We have proudly represented the rights of personal injury victims in Virginia for over 50 years and are here to help.

Contact a Rutter Mills attorney to speak about your case today.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Years Helping Our Clients


Convenient Offices


Team members ready to help.


You don’t have to worry about the bills, just get healthy.

Dave Put His Trust in Us

Don’t Fall For The Insurance Company’s Games

Dave suffered serious injuries in a car accident. The defendant’s insurance company tried to offer him a low amount so Dave called Rutter Mills. We took over dealing with the insurance and got Dave the money he needed to get back on his feet.

They enabled me to be happy in life again.

Get Back On Track

Protecting Your Future

Glenn’s car accident changed his life, but not permanently thanks to the help of his Rutter Mills attorney. When the insurance companies wouldn’t help him, our team fought back and won.

I knew I needed Rutter Mills.

Fighting For What's Right

Getting Justice

On his way home from work at the shipyard, Dan was involved in an accident. He tried to file a claim on his own, but the insurance company wouldn’t give him the money he needed to put his life back on track. Dan knew he needed to call Rutter Mills.

They actually won my case 3 times!

Larena's Win

After her car accident, Larena asked her father, a local stevedore, for his advice on who to call. He recommended Rutter Mills. Her team of car accident experts at Rutter Mills fought back when the insurance companies tried to deny her the money she needed to recuperate from her injuries. We took her case to trial – and won. When the insurance company filed their appeals, we beat them again – two more times! Larena got the money she needed and the justice she deserved.

We’re going to immediately call Rutter Mills. That’s the people I trust with my baby girl.

Who Do You Trust With Your Family?

After a car accident, Jamaree’s first call was to her mom. She was shaken up and scared. Mom told her “We’re calling Rutter Mills. Her next was to Rutter Mills. Her Rutter Mills car accident team helped her get compensation “above & beyond” what she was expecting.

They lifted allot of stress off my shoulders. I recommend them to anybody because they WILL fight for you.

Who Can You Turn To?

Referrals From Friends and Family

After John was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident, he turned to the person he trusts most for a recommendation. His wife, a paralegal of 30 years, told him to call Rutter Mills on the advice of the lawyer she worked for.

They really care for you as a person. Words cannot describe what Rutter Mills did for me and for my case.

When You Need Someone In Your Corner

Don’t Go It Alone

When the insurance company tried to get Carol to sign paperwork after her car accident, she knew she needed a lawyer. Carol knew she needed Rutter Mills.

When I called Rutter Mills, I knew it was the right fit. They’re so interested in helping you get justice.

Getting The Justice You Deserve

When Mom Needs Strength

Taryn was in a car accident while she was pregnant. She knew she needed someone in her corner to protect her rights and her family’s future.

There’s attorneys, then there’s Rutter Mills.

We're Here When The Unexpected Happens


A devasting accident changed Levon’s life forever. The physical and emotional toll left him scared and in pain. When the insurance company for the defendant contacted the family, they made an offer that did not even cover the cost of the medication, much less doctors’ bills, and physical therapy. They knew they needed to talk to a serious lawyer. Rutter Mills took care of the negotiation so Levon could focus on healing.

When you’ve got a serious injury, you need a serious lawyer. That’s why we chose Rutter Mills.

Motorcycle Accidents Change Everything

When Ed was injured in a motorcycle crash, he knew he needed a serious lawyer to protect his rights. The insurance companies were fighting him every step of the way. Rutter Mills helped prove Ed’s case and get him the money he needed to get on the road to recovery.

With the seriousness of the accident, I knew that we needed a serious lawyer. I needed Rutter Mills.

Carol & Levon's Story

They knew they needed a serious lawyer when Carol and her son were seriously injured. After the other party’s insurance company tried to get her to settle for less than she needed, Carol called Rutter Mills for help. We took on the insurance company so she could focus on healing.

Watch his 30 second testimonial video
Watch Glenn's 30 second story
Watch Dan's 30 second video
Watch Larena's 30 second story
Watch Jamaree's 30 second video
Watch Levon's 30 second video
Watch Ed's 30 second story
Watch Carl's 30 second video