Independent Medical Exams By Insurance Carriers Are Really Not So Independent At All - Many Times A “Sham”
The catastrophic personal injury lawyers at the Philadelphia personal injury law firm of Reiff & Bily call attention to a story posted in The New York Times on March 31, 2009 in an investigative article entitled ”Exams of Injured Workers Feed Mutual Mistrust” detailing the abuse of such exams in the New York Workers’ Compensation system.
Since 1979, the experienced personal injury lawyers at Reiff & Bily have been zealously protecting their clients’ rights by fighting against insurance companies. When one purchases insurance coverage, it is expected that the claimant will be paid when the need arises. Unfortunately, according to another study published by the American Association for Justice this past summer, insurance companies continue to emphasize profits over policyholders’ interests and the name of the game is deny, delay, defend - do anything in fact to avoid paying claims.
The New York Times article revealed clear bias on the so-called “independent” medical exam. At our law firm, we do not refer to these medical examinations as “independent” but consider them company or defense examinations. Some of the highlights of The New York Times article are:
1. Quote from an IME doctor who was videotaped in an exam making positive findings directly contradictory to the report he later submitted. “If you did a purely poor report, you would be out on your ear and the insurers wouldn’t pay for it. You have to give them what they want, or you are in Florida. That’s the game, baby.”
2. “You go in and sit there for a few minutes, and up comes a six page detailed exam they never did.”
3. “There are some noble things you can do in medicine without treating. This ain’t one of them.”
4. “Physicians have regrettably moved away from being neutral observers. They have moved toward one camp or the other.”
5. Often IME doctors are hired by brokers that then have clerical staff prepare reports based on dictation or checklists completed by the doctors who often do not read reports before signing them. This article gives examples of doctors signing reports and exams they never performed.
6. The best protection against this sort of thing is to record or videotape an IME.