When our law office sues on behalf of our clients for workers' compensation claims, these clients are sometimes asked to complete an independent medical exam on behalf of the insurance companies or employers. Unfortunately, these independent medical exams often appear unreliable and paint an incomplete and/or inaccurate picture of a client's true medical difficulties.
This difficulty with independent exams is occurring across the country. In Wisconsin, reporters have investigated this phenomenon (link at bottom of blog post). According to their investigative report, many judges are becoming frustrated with the low quality of these exams as well. Across cases, these medical experts tend to give the same opinion, noting that the injuries were not work related and "all in the patient's head". One judge was reported as saying "A few of the experts' opinions were so predictable that it's almost a waste of time to read the report because you know what it's going to say."
These independent examiners (IMEs) are hired by employers or insurance companies who wish to dispute various workers' compensation claims. IMEs are sometimes hired long-term by insurance companies and travel across the country completing very short exams (in some cases, 3-5 minutes), and then write up the corresponding medical reports for their employers. However, some states are beginning to investigate these dubious reports more frequently and are sometimes barring certain IMEs from testifying in court. Overall, many IME reports tend to be biased, not comprehensive, and are sometimes grossly inaccurate. Unfortunately, these IME reports can have a significant impact on a valid workers' compensation claim and lead to a delayed outcome and frustration on behalf of the injured worker.
If you have a workers' compensation claim and are being treated unfairly in the process, it may be time to seek legal representation. Our law office is skilled in handling these types of claims. For more information on our firm or to set up your free initial consultation, please call our Altoona, PA area office at 814-946-4100.