Don’t accept insurer’s examinations without question:
“Doctors are taking in millions of dollars a year by putting their names to accident injury reports for the insurance industry. Some of these reports unfairly discredit injury claims, leaving victims intimidated and exhausted.” Thanks to the Globe and Mail for shining the light on the abusive nature of the insurers examination system. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/investigations/doctors-insurance-independent-medical-examinations/article37141790/
I have always found it ironic that these assessments are called ‘independent medical assessments’ since they are in fact the least independent of any medical assessments. Many of the doctors and companies listed in the article are on preferred provider lists maintained by insurance companies. That means they get used over and over again for assessments, largely because the insurance companies have a pretty good idea of what these doctors are going to say, long before they get the reports. As the article points out, many of these doctors make most and in some cases all of their income by providing reports to the insurance industry—how independent can they be?
Reading reports from some of these doctors over and over again, you can see that they are largely cutting and pasting, often forgetting to correct names and details while doing so. They can do this because their opinions really don’t change from patient to patient. That is why insurer’s use them.
This is an area that clearly needs the attention of the Government of Ontario, The College of Physicians and Surgeons, and the Courts. Money is being wasted, and lives are being destroyed by unscrupulous doctors and insurance companies who use them.
This article really underscores the importance of having a lawyer that is familiar with the system and knows about the doctors that the industry regularly uses. The lawyer needs to be prepared to strongly advocate for your rights. If you are injured, you are obligated to attend reasonable assessments requested by the insurer, but the request must be reasonable. The article mentions individuals that have been subjected to dozens of insurer’s examinations. That is rarely necessary, and can usually be negotiated with the insurance company. Not all lawyers do this.
Where an insurance company is caught relying obviously faulty opinions of hand-picked doctors, the company may be responsible for punitive damages. The lawyer should consider this in every case.
If you are injured, your lawyer should carefully review whether the insurer’s requests for examinations are reasonable. If they are not, they should be declined. If you have questions about this article, or insurer’s examinations, I would be happy to talk.