Insurance Company Tricks, Part 1
April 12, 2021
Insurance companies want to pay you as little as possible. If they can save $10,000 on your case and on 100 other cases too, that becomes a lot of money to them. To save money, insurance companies have several tricks.
One of the things that insurance companies do is have your medical records reviewed by THEIR doctor. Their doctor will then become their expert at trial. Sometimes they will require you to go be examined by their doctor, and sometimes they just send your medical records to their doctor and you will never meet their doctor. They like to call this process an IME- “Independent Medical Exam.” While they call it “Independent” it is a very biased process. The doctor is one that the insurance company chooses. The doctor is not going to provide you any treatment or advice, but simply prepare a report for litigation. The doctor is usually one that gets repeat business from the insurance company, so the doctor knows that if he/she doesn't say something helpful to the insurance company, they won't get any more business from the insurance company.
The report the IME doctor prepares will usually say that the client's injuries are not as bad as the client's own doctors say they are or that the injuries are not from the accident. The IME doctor will often say that the injuries are from a previous accident or preexisting condition. The IME doctor's report will let the insurance company argue in court that “we want to do the right thing and pay what is fair, but their injuries aren't from this accident.”
Court rules allow the insurance company to require an injured person to go to the doctor of the insurance company's choosing. Oftentimes the insurance company won't even require an office visit, there will just be a report from the IME doctor based on the injured person's records. The insurance company getting an IME doctor is a tactic they use that is legal and allowed by the Courts.
When cases are tried in front of a jury, jurors sometimes don't understand that the IME doctor is a “hired gun” by the insurance company who's opinion is very biased to help the insurance company. It is important the jury is made to understand that the IME doctor is not independent. But even before it gets to a jury, it is important that the client get the necessary treatment that will preemptively rebut a potential IME doctor.