This is a common question – how to approach IMEs.
A couple of basics:
There is no such thing as an IME. The term “IME” does not appear in the Workers Compensation Law. The proper term is “ physician legally authorized to practice…who shall be selected and paid for by the employer”
People who use the term IME are wrong.
Maybe “PLATPWSBSAPFBTE” is too hard to say, although “employer’s medical exam ( EME) would be just as easy to say and more accurate.
More likely, insurance companies want you to think that the exam is somehow independent and objective,
Which it usually isn’t.
But sometimes is.
Tape recording of an EME is a mistake because:
- The EME doctor will do a better job of examining you and it will be harder for your lawyer to cross examine him/her,
- There are complicated laws on the topic, and
- The WC Judge probably won’t be impressed.
You can bring a witness only if they are a licensed medical professional such as a nurse or doctor.
There are generally three types of EME doctors:
- The hired guns who will say anything for a price
- A working physician who needs extra income because he or she has a child in college or is paying a lot of alimony.
- A retired or disabled doctor who can’t practice. ( These can be the hardest category of EME doctor for your lawyer to deal with).
We here at Calhoon and Kaminsky know the players in the Work Comp system and can tell whether a EME doctor is #1, #2 or #3. It is important to know this because it changes your approach.
If you have an EME coming up with a #1 doctor; you will want to minimize pain and symptoms because a #1 doctor will give you a Waddell Test/Blankenship Inventory which will be used to say you are faking. You will, as in all EMEs, will want to give full and consistent effort. And, you will want to promptly have the same tests performed by your doctor to see if there are different results.
The worst doctor knows more medicine than the best lawyer. And #1 EME doctors are professional and convincing actors- they can testify really well. A #1 EME doctor can be tripped up on the history ( which they frequently don’t know well ) or when they have a nurse perform the tests and then testify that they did it.
Your approach to a #2 or #3 doctor should be very different depending on who it is. These are real doctors ( especially category #2) and they sometimes will side with the injured worker rather than the insurance company. It happens. Not too often, but it does happen. It never happens with a #1 doctor who, at most, will occasionally say that a claimant is only partially disabled.
Remember that the EME itself is not important. It is the WC Judge’s reaction to the EME which counts. And, WC Judges have different opinions on this.
One WC Judge has an excellent memory and keeps track of what a #2 doctor said in every case before him. That doctor would always say that a spinal disc was ruptured when testifying for a patient and would testify that the same type of disc was only bulging when testifying for the insurance company. Result? That WC Judge never believed what that doctor testified to in any case.
The WC Judges vary widely in terms of their background, approach, opinions and temperment.
It is very important to know which Judge you will or may get BEFORE you undergo an EME
If you find any of this confusing, give us a call and we will advise you at no cost. The law firm of Calhoon & Kaminsky represents injured workers Disability throughout Pennsylvania, including but not limited to, Altoona, Harrisburg, Pottsville, Allentown, Reading, Bloomsburg, Easton, Bethlehem, Norristown, Bristol, Williamsport, State College, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Lancaster, Waynesboro, York and all cities in Bucks County, Chester County, Columbia County, Dauphin County, Delaware County, Lackawanna County, Lancaster County, Lebanon County, Lehigh County, Luzerne County, Lycoming County, Montgomery County, Monroe County, Montour County, Northampton County, Northumberland County, Philadelphia County, Pike County, Schuylkill County, Wyoming County and York County, PA. Our offices are located at 2411 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA and we can arrange for meeting locations at law offices throughout the State.