Limits of the Independent Medical Examination
Employers are entitled to have an employee examined by their own doctor after an alleged work injury. Many times a client will hear what the “independent” doctor said after the examination and be understandably angry. “How can he say I’m not hurt? I hurt every day. Let him live in my body, then he will see.”
Claimant’s attorneys know that it is the rare defense doctor who will find a claimant suffered a work injury. Claimant is treating with five doctors who all say that claimant has two herniated discs. The lone IME doctor says there is nothing wrong with the claimant. It infuriates attorneys as well but sometimes there is a silver lining. Sometimes the doctor’s arrogance loses the case for the employer.
Claimant is hurt at work. The employer accepts the injury and pays medical and lost wages benefits. Some years later, the employer does not want to continue paying benefits. They send the claimant to be examined. Their doctor testifies that, not only is Claimant perfectly fine, but there was never a work injury in the first place. This is not allowed and can lead to the Judge throwing out all of the doctor’s testimony.
Once a judge decides that there is a work injury the employer cannot go back later and try to argue that no such injury occurred. Likewise, once the employer accepts responsibility for an injury, they cannot reargue it later.
If you were hurt at work, protect yourself. Call an attorney immediately.