Legal Services

IMEs and CIMEs

IMEs are examinations, performed by a physician who is not involved in the person’s care, for the purpose of clarifying medical and job issues. IMEs are performed to provide information for case management and for evidence in hearings and other legal proceedings. IMEs are a component of most workers’ compensation statutes, although the specifics vary by state and country. They are performed at several stages during the cycle of injury/illness, treatment, rehabilitation, and return to work.

IMEs can help to untangle the complex relationship between pathology (a medical condition or diagnosis), impairment (an anatomic or functional abnormality or loss), functional limitation (a restriction that can be assessed by objective medical assessment), and disability (inability to perform socially-defined activities or roles). For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual, a record of such an impairment, or being regarded as having an impairment.” Major life activities include seeing, hearing, speaking, walking, breathing, performing manual tasks, learning, caring for one’s self, and working. It is essential that IMEs be performed objectively using reproducible techniques and agreed-upon standards.

Dr. Lea is a member of the American Board of Independent Medical Examiners (ABIME). The American Board of Independent Medical Examiners trains and certifies physicians in the performance of independent medical exams otherwise known as IMEs. Dr. Lea has qualified as a Certified Independent Medical Examiner or CIME as a result of his training with the ABIME.


A Life Care Plan is a dynamic document based upon published standards of practice, comprehensive assessment, data analysis and research which provides an organized, concise plan for current and future needs in patients with catastrophic injuries and disabilities such as spinal cord injury, brain injury and these injuries in combination. The Life Care Plan includes the associated cost for the individuals who have experienced catastrophic injury or have chronic care needs.

A Life Care Plan is a tool used by defense and plaintiff attorneys to educate the jury regarding the anticipated costs, goods and services needed over the course of the client’s lifetime as related to the illness or injury. The report is comprehensive incorporating a summary of medical records, interview with the client and correspondence with the treating or examining physicians. Additionally the report includes tables that clearly delineate the costs associated with each good and service.

Dr. Lea is a specialist in spinal cord injury and his fellowship trained in spinal cord injury medicine. He specializes in performing IMEs on spinal cord injured patients and brain injured patients as well as other catastrophic injuries. He also actively assists in life care plans developed for patients with catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injury and brain injury, especially in combination.