Type of Case: Workers’ Compensation
Legal Issue or Dispute: All benefits discontinued based upon insurance company’s independent medical exam (IME)
Facts: Our client was seriously injured when she fell at work. There was no question that her injury occurred at work and the claim was accepted by the work comp insurance company and they paid wage loss and medical benefits. Unfortunately, our client continued to experience ongoing symptoms including neck pain and headaches which prevented her from returning to work. She underwent a variety of tests and treatment and all of her treating doctors believed that she was seriously injured and they all continued to recommend work restrictions and additional treatment. Not one of her physicians ever suggested that she was faking or exaggerating her symptoms.
The work comp insurance company exercised its right to get an “independent” medical exam, also referred to as an IME. The IME doctor was an orthopedic surgeon who spent less than 20 minutes examining our client and then wrote a report in which he claimed that she had only suffered a temporary neck sprain and that she no longer needed any work restrictions or medical treatment. On the basis of that report, the work comp insurance company discontinued all of our client’s benefits, even though she was unable to return to her full-time work and still needed medical care.
Result: The case went to trial before a work comp judge in Duluth where we presented our client’s claim as supported by her testimony, the medical records and a very good report from her treating physician. The judge disregarded the insurer’s IME report and ruled in our client’s favor, ordering the insurance company to reinstate all benefits. The judge also ordered the insurance company to reimburse our client for a portion of the attorney fees as a penalty.
Contact Us Anytime with Questions about Your Claim
If your claim has been denied or your benefits discontinued by the workers’ compensation insurance company, you should contact an experienced work comp lawyer right away. Many people simply walk away from a work comp claim after they receive a denial or discontinuance letter. The insurance companies know that many people will be intimidated by a denial or may be afraid to contact an attorney.
Don’t ever be afraid to contact us if you have questions about a claim. It won’t cost you anything and we will give you our honest assessment about whether you need a lawyer to represent you or whether we can help.
If you decide to hire us, whether now or at some later time, there are no costs or expenses to you. We don’t ask for any money up front and we only get paid if we win. For more information about hiring us and how we get paid, please see this earlier post.
As always, thank you for visiting our blog and please tell your friends that we are a source of good work comp information for workers injured in northern Minnesota and anywhere on the Iron Range.