The workcover insurance company (who is defending your workcover claim) has a right to have a doctor (an independent medical examiner) of its own choice examine the injured worker. The logic of this general rule cannot be questioned. However the manner in which so-called “independent medical examinations” (IMEs) are carried out is often fraught with controversy, and it’s important that you know that you can refuse to see a certain IME in certain circumstances!
After reading a recent comment posted by “Doug” stating: “I too suffer from mental health issues which have been aggravated due to a workplace injury, yet work cover do NOT want to even know about them”, I am compelled yet again to repeat today that when a worker is unfortunate to be injured at work, there is not only injury but it is then – just about always – followed by assault and workcover case managers (et al.) are re-injuring those workers all over again.
As you may have gathered, our site was hacked last month and malware was found. The trouble started shortly after we received an email from a -clearly- very disgruntled IME, referring to his multiple negative reviews on our site’s “rate an IME / IME List“, and stating that we caused upset in those injured workers who were due for an IME assessment with this man. He demanded an apology and requested we delete the reviews pronto…or else… Coincidence? Maybe…
I recently asked an orthopaedic surgeon why he recently decided to cease accepting workcover patients; the surgeon gave an interesting but perhaps wretched answer, saying that workcover patients are much more difficult o engage and treat than general patients because “these injured workers are so angry at the [workcover] system”.
We believe that one of the most difficult problems with the current workcover Independent Examination system is that there is usually no way for an injured worker to know the full history of the IME doctor who is performing the examination. For example, if a certain IME doctor has been the subject of multiple complaints, the injured worker has (generally) no way to know about these previous complaints. This is also the reason why we started our IME list.
Let me ask you to picture this …You were badly injured at work and just had surgery. In this surgery, your surgeons literally touched and manipulated your bones. Metal was placed in your bones. When they were finished screwing and sawing your bones, they sowed your skin together and sent you to the ward with a Morphine pump for pain control.Then after a day or two in the hospital, you are sent home to recover…
Many IME Psychiatrists, even those who testify for workcover insurers avoid diagnosing psychological / psychiatric conditions related to injured workers’ trauma. They generally do this by deliberately avoiding any tests that were designed to assess the injured worker’s mental condition in question. Is it any wonder the IME finds no evidence of for example, PTSD or major depression when s/he doesn’t even test for it?
In this article, we’ll outline the main benefits of settling an injury (common law) damages claim OUT of court. In doing so we also wish to highlight that in some cases, injured workers may well believe that their case is worth much more than the workcover insurance company is willing to pay, and also believe their case is worth much more than it is actually worth. Indeed injured workers hear or read stories about large settlements and/or court verdicts and may get caught up in the (very expensive) litigation process.
Fact, quite a few independent medical examiners (IMEs) often attempt to minimise the injured worker’s condition and allege the injured worker is “exaggerating” his/her pain. Some claim or imply that the only thing that will cure you is money. It’s happened to me, it’s happened to countless other injured workers. I have amused myself compiling a list of questions we should ask those ignorant IMEs. For example: “Dear IME, if money cures the condition and takes away the pain, then does that mean that you regularly prescribe “money” to your own patients suffering from these same conditions? Enjoy!
I recently had the pleasure to make contact with the personal injury lawyer who recently commented on our site under the nickname Paragon (formerly ****88). One of the issues I raised was (and is) that workers comp lawyers aren’t offering much legal input on this forum /blog in response to the plight of injured workers. Paragon explains the reason(s) behind it, and perhaps more importantly has generously offered to contribute to our site as a volunteer, and help offer solutions to those injured workers who need help at the most desperate moments.