Treating doctor vs. independent medical examiner

Success or failure of your workers’ compensation case might come down to a battle of medical experts.

4386861133_5e79734a6f_mI just finished reading a disturbing article regarding the distinction between treating doctors and independent medical examiners. It was written by a defense lawyer who was arguing that treating doctors should not be given any extra consideration and independent medical examiners are more credible when evaluating a claimant.

His criticism of treating doctors included their eagerness to take claimant’s statements at face value and aversion to video surveillance generated by insurance companies. Apparently, the treating doctor is biased since he or she will generate income from seeing a patient under workers’ compensation. The independent medical examiner gets paid a small fee regardless of outcome.

I had to laugh when reading this article and wondered if defense counsel really believes this nonsense. Independent medical examiners make hundreds of thousands per year testifying for insurance companies. Some of them have lost hospital privileges and do not see patients anymore. One local independent medical examiner saw 1258 people in just one year. Based upon an average fee of $700 per examination, this equals $880,600. This amount far exceeds anything a treating doctor would receive from seeing a patient under workers’ compensation.

Insurance companies use the same doctors over and over again because they know what to expect. Our clients report these examinations take less than fifteen minutes and the doctor is not interested in hearing about their complaints. These dubious medical opinions are often the basis for a claim dispute.

We had one case where the insurance company sent our client to four different independent medical examinations. It took four tries but the insurance company finally got their cut-off doctor. Biased medical opinions have to be challenged in court. Our experience shows that a magistrate will give deference to a treating doctor in a close case.

Michigan Workers Comp Lawyers never charges a fee to evaluate a potential case. Our law firm has represented injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 35 years. Call (855) 221-2667 for a free consultation today.

Related information:

What should I do if I’ve been requested for a workers comp IME?

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by David Goehring.

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