Almost every single case involving serious injury, permanent disability or significant wage loss is confronted by an insurance company lawyer demanding an “Independent Medical Examination.” The exam is usually not independent. It is not for treatment, so the “medical” part of the phrase is intellectually dishonest. And as for an “examination,” it’s often more of a cross-examination than a genuine physical exam.
“Independent” medical exams (“IMEs”) are commonplace in personal litigation, workers compensation, and occupational disease cases handled by ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. Because they are not truly “Independent,” as we see the same doctors performing exams for the same insurance companies who pay their bills, we refer to these as “defense medical exams” or “insurance medical exams.” A 3/31/09 New York Times investigation titled “Exams of Injured Workers Feed Mutual Mistrust,” reported that, “Often IME doctors are hired by brokers that then have clerical staffs prepare reports based on dictation or checklists completed by the doctors, who often do not read the reports before signing them. The article gives examples of doctors signing reports on exams they never performed. One of the ways Herndon Reston area injury lawyer Doug Landau anticipates this practice is by offering the insurance company a physical exam early in the case, sometimes even before a lawsuit is filed. “The case we select involve serious, objective and usually permanent injuries,” Landau notes. Because we have nothing to hide, I will offer to have my injured client submit to a voluntary physical exam with a qualified doctor, at a reasonable time and place, in lieu of a later examination after suit is filed.” In effect, it is a “put up or shut up” move by the multi-state trial lawyer, known for his unique and innovative techniques.