- Family Law Overview
- Personal Injury Overview
- Criminal Defense Overview
- Estate Administration
- Business Litigation
You’ve been injured in a car crash that wasn’t your fault. You’ve obtained legal representation and your lawyer has filed a lawsuit against the person or people responsible (the Defendants) for the crash and your injuries. The Defendants are represented by their auto insurance company, and the insurance company seems to be fighting you on everything.
The insurance company’s latest maneuver is to file with the Court a Motion for an IME, or Independent Medical Examination. An IME is where a physician, who has not treated you for the injuries you sustained in the crash, examines you to determine the extent of your injuries, to report on whether your treatment has been reasonable and necessary for the injuries you have received, and to provide his opinion as to the degree of your permanent impairment, if any. During the examination, this physician may ask you questions about how the crash happened, in order to understand your symptoms and injuries, and about your treatment. The purpose of an IME is often to dispute the diagnosis or treatment of your own treating doctors.
The IME physician is paid by the insurance company. The IME doctor’s report can become evidence at a mediation or arbitration, or at trial. The IME doctor can testify at trial.
Rule 35 of the Massachusetts Rules of Civil Procedure provides for IMEs “[w]hen the mental or physical condition (including the blood group) of a party … is in controversy.” MRCP Rule 35(a). As a party, you do not have to agree to an IME, however, if you do not consent, the insurance company may ask the Court to order you to “submit to a physical or mental examination.” MRCP Rule 35(a). The Defendant’s Rule 35 Motion must specify the time and place of the examination, as well as the conditions and scope of the examination (including which tests are to be performed) and the name of the physician or specialist who will be conducting the examination. MRCP Rule 25(a).
The Defendant has the burden of proving, to the Court’s satisfaction, that there is “good cause,” or good reason, for subjecting you to the IME. If you and your attorney believe that there is not good cause for the IME, your attorney should oppose the Defendant’s IME Motion. In addition, there may be valid grounds to oppose the Motion if the Defendant’s Motion does not comply with the specific requirements of Rule 35, such as specifying the scope of the examination and stating the name of the doctor who will be conducting the examination.
Other grounds for opposing an IME include timeliness. If the Defendant has waited until after the discovery period has closed, or several years have passed since the crash or since you have finished treating for your injuries, your attorney should bring this to the Court’s attention. The Court may deny the Defendant’s IME Motion if it finds that the Defendant took too long to bring the IME Motion.
If you and your attorney decide not to object to the Defendant’s IME Motion, or you object but the Court orders that you undergo the IME, you may wish your attorney to be present at the IME. MRCP Rule 35 does not state one way or the other whether a party’s attorney is allowed to be present at the IME. Your attorney must ask the Court for permission to attend, and the Court will decide this issue.
At least one Massachusetts Court has held that there must be “good cause” for a party’s attorney to attend the IME. In this instance, good cause means that a Court considers whether there are any external factors which suggest the likelihood of a biased or adversarial exam, as well as the nature of the examination itself. If your attorney is allowed to attend the IME, he or she cannot participate in the IME in any way, absent any improper conduct or questioning on the part of the IME physician. Kutner v. Urban, 2003 Mass. Super. LEXIS 406 (Middlesex Super. Ct. Nov. 24, 2003) (Brassard, J.). Whether or not your attorney will attend the IME, he or she can prepare you in advance for what you might expect.
The attorneys here at Studley Law Offices have a combined 45 years of experience representing people who have been injured in car crashes. We understand what you’re going through and we know how insurance companies work. We have successfully opposed Defendants’ requests for Rule 35 IMEs. If you have been injured in a car crash and would like to speak with us, please call Christine at 508-946-0070.
"John Studley helped me thru a very difficult time in my life. He explained everything to me and made me feel independent in my decisions. He got me more than I expected. Thanks to You and your team." - Diane - December 9, 2016
"I completely agree with a prior reviewer...a complete class act! He is highly efficient, extremely knowledgeable, personable, totally professional, highly successful and very entertaining. I have dealt with Atty. Studley on a few matters over the course of 12 years and he (and his staff!) have consistently provided the time and means to successfully litigate my cases/issues. I was fortunate enough that he was referred to me and I have had absolutely no regrets. If you're looking for the best, he's the person to hire." - L - December 1, 2016
"Posted by Michelle September 16, 2015 John Studley is a true class act. I have been a client of his since 2008. He puts the needs of the child first and foremost. He is direct and honest with his clients in a compassionate manner. I would highly recommend Studley Law Offices. I have great faith in John, Sandy and the rest of the team and I remain truly greatful for all of their hard work." - Michelle - September 16, 2015
"Attorney Studley and his staff are exceptional! They all are very professional, courteous, efficient and empathetic for our case. Attorney Studley knew the "ins and outs" of the laws and was able to implement them in our case. He was always available to us in a timely manner. He explained various situations and avenues we needed to explore. He provided us with the information we needed to move forward in our case. Attorney Studley was always prepared for any situation in court. He even had copies of documents that the judge did not have available to him during court proceedings. We have already recommended him to a fellow grandparent and would do so again." - Bev - August 31, 2015
"John Studley is very professional. I would highly recommend him to anyone who needs a lawyer. He kept me informed by promptly responding to my emails and phone calls." - Roger - January 31, 2015
"John and his staff were very professional from the beginning. He is very persistent and thorough. My case took over a year to settle but his staff had to do a lot of research. They constantly kept me in the loop as to how the case was progressing. I would not hesitate to use his services again." - Ron - August 21, 2014
"John helped my family in a difficult child custody case. His excellent work was instrumental in saving my granddaughters from ongoing physical and mental abuse." - Tom - August 12, 2014
"This was my first experience dealing with a lawyer. I found John Studley to be very professional in dealing with my case. He explained everything to me in detail and his knowledge of the law reassured me that my case was justified. I had complete trust in him as he was confident and I would highly recommend him to any person in need a lawyer. John dealt with my personal injury case. He set up appointments with Doctors, Neurologists and Physical therapists for me. He and his team were very responsive in returning my phone calls and communicated all correspondence in this matter. He showed a compassion for my health and well being during a difficult time in my life. He was instrumental in facilitating a fair settlement in my case." - Brian - February 21, 2014
"John Studley has been my attorney for over 20 years and has never disappointed me. He is, in my opinion the best lawyer you could have. Rest assured that if you have Attorney Studley for your lawyer he will definitelyl do the best that he can do for you. He definitely is a cut above the rest..." - Edna - February 11, 2014