Can An Insurance Company Doctor Say I Was Not Injured. What Is An Insurance Independent Medical Examination?
It is quite common in both personal injury litigation and workers’ compensation litigation for an insurance company to retain a doctor to examine their claimant, plaintiff, or injured person. Invariably, in my experience, the opinions that come from such doctors are that:
- the person sustained some manner of modest injury but has now fully recovered, or
- that they were injured but, the cause is anything under the sun other than the accident or work-related event at issue
There are sometimes similar opinions: things such as the individuals pain and dysfunction is actually caused by a heretofore undiagnosed, asymptomatic, surreptitious, pre-existing condition, or, frequently in the workers compensation arena, that a given medical procedure or course of treatment, recommended by the injured person's treating physician, is really not needed or appropriate under the circumstances.
The civil procedure rules in Maryland circuit court and custom in workers’ compensation proceedings allow an individual to be physically examined by a doctor who then renders his or her opinion. The Maryland district court rules allow an insurance company to obtain a conclusion from a doctor without actually seeing the person, but rather based on a review of medical records through section 10-104 of the Court and Judicial Proceedings Article.
Insurance companies are routinely and systematically able to retain doctors to give opinions that favor the insurance company’s in the case.
This is not to suggest anything nefarious is at work here. Medical evidence is generally complex. Clinical findings are often subject to more than one interpretation. Medical opinions are just that -opinions. So long as a doctor's findings are, in his or her opinion, offered within a reasonable degree of medical probability, a doctor can absolutely give an opinion that you were not injured in an accident.