Attorneys who handle personal injury cases know that so-called independent medical examinations (IMEs) are really not independent at all. They are neither independent nor real medical examinations.
These exams are usually an effort by the insurance company and its defense lawyers to purchase a false and misleading opinion. They are an effort to create evidence and mislead juries. Many of the doctors who perform these examinations are absolutely biased against the patient.
What really bothers me is that many plaintiff attorneys willingly let their clients submit to these biased and bogus exams. Attorneys who simply let their clients submit to these examinations are not acting in their client’s best interests. The false and misleading IME reports purchased by insurance carriers can have devastating effects upon injured workers and accident victims seeking justice. They harm all of us by distorting the truth.
The Center for Justice and Democracy summarizes the problems with “independent” medical examinations as follows:
- THERE IS EXTREME ANTI-WORKER BIAS AND INCOMPETENCE AMONG IME EXAMINERS.
- IME DOCTORS SOMETIMES NEVER LOOK AT THE PATIENT OR BARELY EXAMINE THEM.
- DISHONEST IME DECISIONS CAN BE DEVASTATING FOR WORKERS
Many doctors who hire themselves out to insurance companies for IMEs have an extreme bias against injured patients. Their bias is for sale! The truth is the real price.
One IME doctor in northern Alabama routinely writes into his reports that the injured person should be suspected of malingering. Think about that. Some of these patients have received care from very respected physicians in our Huntsville community. These respected doctors tested, observed and verified a serious injury. Yet, for the price of a few hundred dollars and a two-page report, the insurance company just created evidence that questions the truth!
Another local IME doctor wrongly claims in depositions that “studies” reveal plaintiffs in lawsuits intentionally delay their own healing. Again, it’s just a paid-for effort to get jurors to question legitimate injuries. These IME reports are dishonest. They are wrong. Both the medical and legal communities should take a stand against them.
I usually object to efforts by insurance carriers and defense counsel to obtain IMEs. I often file motions to oppose these requests. The law protects clients from these reports in many situations. A lawyer should be willing to fight for his client. Unfortunately, many do not.
The use of biased examiners to conduct IMEs is not limited to Alabama. A New York attorney recently wrote several blog posts about a physician in his state who made millions of dollars providing insurance carriers with reports. These posts make interesting reading. Apparently, that IME doctor’s true actions were revealed by a plaintiff who secretly recorded the “examination.” A quick Google search will reveal biased paid-for IME examiners in many states. These examiners make their money generating false reports that cost all of us instead of helping patients. That’s wrong.
At the Blackwell Law Firm, we help people with serious injuries across Alabama. We believe in preparation. We believe better preparation leads to better results for our injured friends and neighbors. If you have questions about a personal injury issue, let us know. We are happy to answer questions.