The New York Times last week ran an excellent series on one of the most ignored and neglected aspects of our civil justice system, workers’ compensation. See Parts I, II, and III of “A World of Hurt “.
In Part II, “Exams of Injured Workers Fuel Mutual Distrust”, the Times showed that the so-called “Independent Medical Examinations” by the insurance company are often fraudulent. These IME’s are used by the Workers’ Compensation Judges in order to determine whether a worker is injured and should continue to receive benefits.
We have known for years that the alleged “Independent Medical Examination” is rarely independent and not much of an examination. The typical IME lasts about 10 minutes. The doctors have a gentlemens’ agreement with the insurance companies, their employers, that about 90% of all workers will be found fit, normal, and ready to resume work.
In the lead example of the story, an orthopedist was taped, with his permission, during his examination of the injured worker. During the examination the doctor stated that he found various significant limitations of motion. However, his report stated across the board that the worker was “normal” and could return to work.
In some cases, the doctors do not write their own reports, and they do not review their reports. Such medical reports are written by the service which hired the doctor.
We recommend that in a serious injury case you have a representative of your lawyer’s office attend the IME with you and videotape the exam.
If you have been involved in a work place accident, please call me at 800-581-1434.
Mark E. Seitelman. 4/6/09, www.seitelman.com.