“Go To” IME Doctors


For some IME doctors, every x-ray is negative

Insurance companies have “go to” doctors for “independent” medical exams. These doctors operate by either (1) the sincere conviction that virtually no one is as hurt as they say they are or, (2) by financial motivation.

My money is typically and cynically on the latter. Certainly, there are some true believers but I suspect most of the true believers retrofit their zealotry to match their economic interest. These are doctors insurance companies name as experts before they ever speak to them.

It is uncanny.  Even in the very worst, most obvious case they find something — anything — to earn their keep.  I was just looking an IME today where the kid’s knee was just tore up from the floor up.  He needs a knee replacement.  A tragedy for a young kid.  So he expert gives us that.  But then says that the one knee will last him a lifetime.  EVERY OTHER EXPERT says it will last 10 years.

It makes sense: they don’t have to because they know exactly what the expert is going to say. We rarely need to depose them because I could write their testimony out for them. The insurance company knows what they are going to say, I know what they are going to say, the judge knows what they are going to say. Like Avon Barksdale said, “The game is the game.”

To be clear, I’m not talking about every defense expert who takes insurance forensic work. I’m talking about the true go to doctors in “how are we going to defend this case?” cases. In Maryland, I can rattle off the names of five doctors who fit this bill. If you are a tort lawyer in Timbuktu, you are rattling off your docs in your head.

These doctors usually have credentials and are smooth as silk. But none of that is really required to get the “go to” gig – the only real requirement is a willingness to offer ridiculous testimony.

The one Achilles’ heel – their Mildred Baena, if you will – is the fact that their credibility is diminished because of the fortune they make testifying for the same insurance companies. Juries get it. Usually, insurance companies just suck up this weakness and hope it does not tank them at trial. More creative insurance defense lawyers have devised an end run around this problem: chose a doctor in Washington, D.C or Virginia for the DME that is not in Maryland’s subpoena power.

You have to fight back against this and get the court’s help if you want to be able to fight back.

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