The New York Times released an investigative report on the strong bias of defense medical examinations - also known as "IMEs" (Insurance Medical Examination). These are doctors who trade the respect and moral obligations of their doctorate degree for massive payments from insurance companies to deny injury claims. This common practice in personal injury claims results in doctors denying real injury claims.
In the NYT report, a New York IME doctors admits, "If you did a truly pure report, you’d be out on your ears and the insurers wouldn’t pay for it. You have to give them what they want, or you’re in Florida. That’s the game, baby." The article notes that over 100,000 of these examinations occur just within the New York Workers Compensation system every year. But this type of examination is used in all states and most areas of personal injury law.
Defense attorney's use this evidence when the case goes to trial, to mislead the jury that the injured person isn't really injured. It is massive business for "IME mills" that pump out thousands of reports consistently denying injury claims, and the doctors willing to deny claims for insurance companies. The New York Times review of case files and medical records and interviews with participants indicate that the exam reports are routinely tilted to benefit insurers by minimizing or dismissing injuries. "The examiners’ opinions can empower an insurer to slash benefits, withhold medical treatment or stall a case. Workers say that psychologically, there is something particularly damaging about being dishonestly evaluated by a medical professional."
Doctors often will transition away from treating patients to only doing insurance examinations. In other cases older doctors will continue making high amounts of money despite only working part time. The NYT article cites a doctor aged 79 who alleged he was doing 50 insurance medical examinations per afternoon. The section on this insurance doctor is particularly insightful.
"Asked about the discrepancy in an interview, Dr. Samuels chuckled and said he could not even recall the people he saw yesterday. The way he worked, he said, was to submit a checklist to a Queens company called All Borough Medical, which transformed it into a narrative.
'I never write a sentence,' he said. 'It’s really crazy, but that’s how it’s done.'
He often inserted numbers in the checklist say, a measure of hand strength after the person left, rather than as he performed the tests.
Was he sure they were correct? 'I’m not sure of anything,' he said. 'They’re just a guess in the first place.'
The law requires a doctor to attest to the accuracy of a finished report before signing it, but Dr. Samuels said he rarely read them. He doubted he had read the Aumoithe report. 'I just sign them,' he said.
If he seldom read them, how did he know they were correct?
'I don’t,' he said. 'That’s the problem. If I read them all, I’d have them coming out of my ears and I’d never have time to talk to my wife. They want speed and volume. That’s the name of the game.'
Trial Guides has a way to effectively deal with insurance doctors: polarize your trial. Rick Friedman’s best selling book, Polarizing the Case, is the key to winning contested cases in which the insurance defense doctor or defense counsel implies that your client does not have the injuries claimed. Polarizing pushes your opposition out of the grey zone of implying your client is inconsistent. It forces the insurance defense doctor to admit that your client is telling the truth, or to admit that they are calling your client a liar.
The technique works. In first few months of publication, we received word that two young female trial lawyers in Colorado and Hawaii obtained verdicts in excess of $1 million by polarizing cases the defense labeled mere "soft tissue" cases. That’s proof of the effectiveness of the book, which Inner Circle member Brian Panish calls "the Bible for anyone trying cases in today’s climate."
To learn more about how to discredit insurance defense doctors, buy Polarizing the Case. The book is the #3 top seller of all time at Trial Guides.
Visit Rick's Trial Guides author page for more on his best selling books and videos for lawyers.