Recently, I received a call from a new client. She called because friends and family told her she needed an experienced worker’s compensation attorney. Although her family thought she needed an attorney, she wasn’t sure because all was well with her case and in fact she was scheduled for an “IME”. Having practiced worker’s compensation law for more than 27 years I am well aware that many times, following an IME, benefits are either substantially decreased or in some cases immediately stopped. The new client proceeded to explain to me her thoughts of an IME indicating that she was under the impression that it was a doctor hired by the State of Wisconsin through the Department of Workforce Development to make sure that she was being properly medically cared for and to confirm her claim. There was nothing to fear, nothing to worry about and this doctor was going to be on “her side”. She didn’t know what she didn’t know!
I explained how wrong she actually was about the IME. I told her that it is anything but “independent” and the doctor was paid for by the insurance company for her employer. The doctor’s job was not to diagnose and treat but to find medical defenses for the insurance company to use in defending her worker’s compensation claim. I explained to my client, who later that day retained my services, to be very careful at the independent medical examination and only answer questions about the accident and the accident injuries. I told her to bring a witness to document how much time is actually spent with the doctor as opposed to sitting in the waiting room. My experience is that often times these “IMEs” take just a matter of minutes but the reports generated are many pages and appear to have taken substantially longer to prepare. I reminded her that this doctor was not going to tell her anything about his findings or diagnosis and was not going to be prescribing any physical therapy, prescription medication or anything for that matter.
My new client will now be attending the IME with knowledge to help with the process. I truly anticipate the doctor finding some fault with either my client’s claim, the extent of her injuries or how well she is recovering. It may be that the insurance company immediately cuts off payments. However, we are in the process of preparing so that if bad things happen following the IME we can immediately request our hearing with the Department of Workforce Development to make sure that our client goes no longer than absolutely necessary with either a decrease or a complete loss of benefits.
I have been representing workers injured on the job for 27 years. Our fees are paid for out of a percentage of the recovery and if there is no recovery there are no fees. All of our initial consultations are at no cost and no obligation. Within a few minutes we can discuss your legal options that will help you get through a difficult worker’s compensation case. If you, a family member or loved one have been injured on the job and have any questions please contact Attorney Mark L. Krueger for a free, no obligation consultation at (866) 455-2993.