Recording independent medical examinations is not allowed under Michigan workers’ comp but there are other ways to protect legal rights.
We have written several blog posts about the independent medical examination and how it is used against people. It is a real shame because many people believe this is a second opinion from someone who wants to help them recover. Doctors are handpicked by insurance companies and make careers out of testifying against disabled employees. Here is a warning about recording independent medical examinations and how to protect legal rights.
Michigan law requires that anyone with a workers’ comp claim submit to a medical examination ordered by the employer or its insurance carrier. It is common for our clients to receive short notice of the independent medical examination. They will be asked to bring medical records and digital imaging such as CT scans or MRI films.
Michigan law prohibits people from recording independent medical examinations. Attorneys are not allowed to attend and even family members will not be permitted into the examination room. The only exception to these rules would be a doctor of a person’s own choosing. Unfortunately, many disabled employees cannot afford to have their doctor attend with them.
Our experience shows the independent medical examination takes less than 15 minutes and can be very uncomfortable. The doctor asks personal questions and does a physical examination. A written report will be drafted and sent to the insurance company. It is very common that workers’ comp benefits are cut-off based upon this IME report. It is typically found that a person has fully recovered or was never suffering from a work-related injury in the first place. This happens months or years after a claim was submitted and it does not matter what the treating doctor believes.
It is natural for disabled employees to want to protect themselves when scheduled for an independent medical examination. This includes recording independent medical examinations with audio or video equipment. It is very easy to sneak a cellular phone into the exam room, but this is a bad idea.
Workers’ comp benefits can be stopped if the insurance company thinks a person has obstructed the independent medical examination in any way. This includes not showing up when required and making the examination difficult. Recording independent medical examinations can lead doctors to cancelling the appointment if it is discovered.
Biased medical opinions should be challenged in court. We tell our clients to keep a pen and notebook in their car. Write down everything that was said and done immediately following the independent medical examination. These notes can be used at trial to refresh memory about how the exam really went. It can also be very helpful for an attorney who will be cross examining the doctor. A magistrate will ultimately decide whether to believe the independent medical examination or reject its conclusions.
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 (844) 201-9497 for a free consultation today.