A recent called to our office was wondering if their lawyer was doing their job correctly.


This worker had an IME performed at a doctor’s office in Chicago back in January.  His treating doctor was recommending a spinal fusion and the IME was taking place to see if that was necessary or not.  No medical benefits were approved until this report became available.


So here we are in June and the report has never been received.  The worker called the IME office and asked for a copy because, you know, it’s a medical report about him.  They told him that they could not turn it over to him since the report was prepared at the request of the insurance company.  They wouldn’t even tell them what it says.


The doctor’s office for the IME is within their right to not send a copy of the report to worker, even as awful as that sounds.  Performing these exams is a financial windfall for them and they don’t want to upset the insurance company.


But that doesn’t mean the worker should get screwed over as is happening in this case.  Here is what the lawyer should do:


  1. Issue a subpoena to the doctor’s office for a copy of the report and any notes related to the exam.  Sometimes these hack doctors won’t prepare a report if they know it’s going to be bad for their client.  They’ll call them up and say that they agree with the treating doctor and will tell the insurance adjuster or defense lawyer that they just won’t prepare a report because that way it can’t be used against them.  So we subpoena the notes and really the whole file in order to uncover every stone possible.
  2. File a trial motion for an immediate hearing. This will force defense counsel to either turn over the report or go to trial without it.  There is a legal precedent in Illinois that says if you went to an IME exam and the defense attorney doesn’t offer evidence about what the IME doctor thought, the Arbitrator can reasonably infer that the doctor’s opinion was in your favor.


The bottom line is that situations like this call for aggressive lawyering.  The current attorney told his client that he didn’t want to go to trial because “it will probably get delayed by an appeal anyway.”  That’s ridiculous and lazy.  If you aren’t willing to go to trial as an attorney then there is really no point being involved at all.  Sure you avoid arbitration hearings if you can get a good result for your client otherwise, but you never give up on that option altogether.


If there is a silver lining, it’s that this worker has a solvable problem.  It’s just a shame that he had to wait so long in pain while his representation sits on their hands.