Sometimes, when our law office handles workers’ compensation claims, our clients are sometimes asked to complete an independent medical exam, generally on behalf of the insurance companies or employers. Unfortunately, these independent medical exams can sometimes appear unreliable and paint an incomplete and/or inaccurate picture of a client’s true medical issues.
This difficulty with independent exams is not isolated to our area of Pennsylvania. In fact, it appears to be a nationwide problem. In one report from the Midwest (see link at the bottom of this post), 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 commonly hired by employers or insurance companies with the objective to dispute various workers’ compensation claims. Sometimes, IMEs are 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 “catch on” to this phenomenon and are investigating these dubious reports more frequently. Sometimes, officials in these states are prohibiting certain IMEs from testifying in court. Overall, many professionals feel that 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 suspect that you are being treated unfairly during the claims 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.