Independent medical examinations, or IMEs, are a tool commonly used by insurance companies to determine whether a claimant truly requires medical care. In theory, an unbiased doctor examines the victim and reaches independent conclusions, meant to confirm or dispute the treating physician’s assessments. The problem, recently the subject of a New York Times exposé, is that IME doctors consistently distort their findings in order to benefit insurance companies.
IMEs, most frequently used in workers’ compensation and auto insurance cases, can be a source of endless frustration to injured victims and their attorneys. As the New York Times article points out, many examinations can be described as perfunctory at best, and the reports provided to the insurance companies may not even reflect the examiner’s actual observations. As Dr. Stephen M. Levin puts it, "There are some noble things you can do in medicine without treating. This ain’t one of them."
Predictably, the insurance industry and IME doctors defend the practice as necessary to weed out exaggerated or fraudulent claims. However, given the dubious findings of many IME doctors and the lax regulation of the examinations, one is hard pressed to explain how justice is served by these "independent" medical examinations.
If you have had your insurance benefits reduced or denied on the basis of an independent medical examination, contact us. We may be able to help restore your coverage and hold the responsible parties accountable.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.