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I Just Received My IME Notice with Dr. Trachtman… Now What?

June 4, 2009 by Steven M. Gursten

In Michigan, Independent Medical Examiners Are Anything But

Our auto accident attorneys frequently help victims of car accidents and truck accidents after they’ve been “cut-off” by their own no-fault insurance companies. After someone has been in a crash, it’s usually a matter of time before an insurance company tries to stop paying medical bills and lost wages and sets up a so-called “independent” medical exam, or IME for short. When this happens, you will be required by the language of your insurance policy to see a doctor who was handpicked and hired by your insurance company.

But who exactly are these IME doctors you are being sent to?

In reality, IME doctors are getting paid a fortune to find nothing wrong with their insureds. In turn, vital insurance benefits are terminated, saving insurance companies millions of dollars. Recent discovery has shown that State Farm insurance alone has used one Michigan IME, Dr. Edward Trachtman, approximately 460 times in the course of about five years.

The problem, as the New York Times reported in its recent story “Exams of Injured Workers Fuel Mistrust,” is exemplified by a quote from one IME, Dr. Hershel Samuels: “If you did a truly pure report, you’d be out on your ears and the insurers wouldn’t pay for it. You have to give them what they want, or you’re in Florida. That’s the game, baby.”

Samuels was videotaped stating his patient had definite back and neck injuries. But in the proceeding report submitted to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board, Samuels cleared the patient for work, contending he had no recent injury at all.

Another notorious Michigan IME doctor is John Baker, who frequently does exams for insurance companies that have clients with traumatic brain injuries. Yet in one recent Michigan worker’s compensation opinion, Sunitha Atluri v. Northville Regional Psychiatric Hospital, a judge found Dr. Baker’s diagnosis to be “worthless” and called him a “hired gun” for the self-insured hospital.

Dr. Baker’s partner, Dr. Manfred Greiffenstein, testified live in one of my recent jury trials. After saying my client did not have TBI, and that he was consumed with his injuries (my client had already had eight surgeries), Dr. Greiffenstein admitted under oath that he was not treating any current patient for traumatic brain injury and had not treated a patient for brain injury in more than a decade. He also admitted he was hired as an IME by every insurance company, workers compensation carrier and defense insurance law firm in town.

These are some of the doctors insurance companies are using to determine whether they should keep paying insurance benefits or not to people injured in car accidents!

Some of the other frequent Michigan IME doctors who turned up in the State Farm discovery include:

o Steven Geiringer, M.D., 330 insurance claimant patients
o Leonard Sahn, M.D., 315 insurance claimant patients
o Manfred Greiffenstein, Ph. D., 267 insurance claimant patients
o Steven Boodin, M.D., 231 insurance claimant patients
o Harvey Ager, M.D., 91 insurance claimant patients
o Marilyn Lantor, RN, 88 insurance claimant patients

Please see the attached discovery document from the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan Southern Division for more information about these State Farm IME doctors. Keep in mind this document only covers one insurance company. If you add up how many IME exams these doctors are doing for all of the other insurance companies, workers compensation carriers and defense law firms in Michigan, the fortune they’re making is mind boggling.

In the future, I plan to blog much more about this topic. I also plan on including excerpts from some of my favorite cross examinations, including the aforementioned Dr. Greiffenstein. Meanwhile, this should highlight the real problem so many innocent injured people have in Michigan. Because Michigan does not have insurance bad faith laws, you have to go to one of these doctors after your car crash when your no-fault insurance company sends you. And the odds are overwhelming that your auto insurance benefits will be halted — regardless of how serious your personal injuries are.

This sham is yet another reason Michigan so desperately needs bad faith laws — to keep insurance company adjusters from knowingly using notorious IMEs to deny injuries and then discontinue insurance benefits.

If your auto insurance benefits have been cut off, we may be able to help. Call (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with a no-fault insurance lawyer. Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights. For more information, check out our law firm quick facts.

Steve Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts in serious car and truck accident injury cases and automobile insurance no-fault litigation. Steve has received the largest jury verdict for an automobile accident case in Michigan in four of the past seven years, including 2008, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

– Photo courtesy of Creative Commons, by Waldo Jaquith

Related information:

Michigan Car Insurance Claims Adjuster Tactics

Michigan No-Fault Law: Time Limits for Filing Car Accident Claims

Your Insurance Company Can Now Lie to You – and Legally Get Away with It

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14 Replies to “I Just Received My IME Notice with Dr. Trachtman… Now What?”

  1. Thanks for taking this issue head on, Steve.

    I used to tell people that I had a clause in my will requiring that Dr. Colah of Medical Evaluation Specialists do my autopsy. I was confident that he would have me back to work, without restrictions, within 24 hours.

  2. YOU NEED TO ADD DR. RONALD S. TAYLOR (PMR) DOCTOR TO YOUR LIST. I HAVE BEEN TO HIM ONCE BEFORE HE STATED NOTHING WRONG WITH MY BACK & I HAD TO HAVE SURGERY DUE TO 2 HERNIATED DISCS AND THEY WANT ME TO GO TO HIM AGAIN IN WHICH I POINTED OUT TO MY INS.CO. SOMETIMES YOU DONT NEED A LAWYER, YOU NEED THE WILL TO FIGHT & KEEP RECORDS OF EVERYTHING WHEN IN A MVA. IF I HAD LISTENED TO ALL THE LAWYERS I SPOKE WITH ABOUT MY MVA I WOULD OF NEVER GOT TREATMENT BUT I HAVE CAUGHT MY INS.CO. IN SOOOO MANY LIES & HAVE THE PROOF. KEEP THOSE ARTICLES COMEING. ADD DR. GARY CHODOROFF, HE ALSO A DOCTOR THEY USE.

  3. My wife just got an IME done and of course she can return to work 100% immediatley. My wife takes about 6-8 Advils daily since January 2009 for her back pain. the IME said that the occasional use of Ibuprofen is normal… whatever occasinal means. The insurance company called about 3 days after the visit with the IME and told us that they won’t pay anything anymore not even for further diagnostics etc. . Even the MRI does not show much besides the “normal” disk bulging and dengeneration (27yers old) my wife is in a lot of pain and sheds tears pretty much every day. How can i fight against the IME report and have my car insurance pay for further diagnostics until we find the reason of my wife’s pain. She never had ANY issues with her back befor the accidient

  4. I had an IMe also done by Ronald Taylor & he of course said nothing was wrong with me & he was rude, unprofessional & never made eye contact with me(8–09) he kept interruppting me, FINALLY, I just said, ” IF YOU WOULD STOP TALKING , MAYBE I COULD ANSWER YOU!”He said, then talk!!!!!! I also seen him in 2004 & today I get to go see Dr.Boodin…….BASICALLY I CALL THE IME’S : “DIRTYING THE VICTIM.”
    BRING IT ON!!!!!

  5. I was made to see Greiffenstein. I’d been warned about him by no less than 5 lawyers. I find it very interesting that he has not treated anyone with TBI in some time as I was told that this was what he was evaluating. Of course, this was not what he was evaluating at all but I’ll get to that later. My TBI had been diagnosed and treated by one of the top neuros in the WORLD!!! But this yay-hoo who is NOT a MD knows better. First off, 3 minutes into his interview with me he starts screaming at me. Now this guy got 4 figures for just reading my records but he seemed to miss a long history that I had of upper spine problems incuding a thoracic spine and cervical spine surgeries. There are copious records documenting that I have considerable problems with my hands–includind writing and holding my head down. So of course, that’s what I had to do all day. I told them fairly early on that I was hurt but was told I had to stay and cooperate. I could not leave as the insurer sent a driver and I was 70 miles from home and had no idea who I could call for help. There was also the threat that if I left that my LTD which had been stopped after years (I was on “lifetime” LTD and SSD which I still get) would not be restored to me. The outcome, I knew was already determined. His report was page after page of personal attacks briefly interspersed with his “expert” opinion. He first said there was no record of my ever having been tested like this before then he said I’d used strategy and implied I was some sort of expert at this. (incidentally, there was a report from one of his fellow prostitutes in my file from ten years prior who found for me–also requested by an insurer–although I have no memory of those tests, but I do not have TBI, yeah, right) He said I was cold–I was terrified and I was shabbily dressed–I was wearing newer clothes. He wrote things he never asked or I never said but he wasn’t the first lying sack of excrement I’d encountered in this process. First I was made to see one Dr Daniel Jay Devries who did not have my records and that did not prevent him from hauling me into a room, being nasty and intimidating to me. (his first statemet before even starting was wasn’t it about time I went back to work) He was very threatening in his manner and did not even pretend to do an exam. His report was a work of fiction. If I affix my signature to a bunch of fraudulent statements (and remember he didn’t know who I was nor my medical history, yet he could make a bunch of diagnostic statements) it would be a crime. This guy gets paid big bucks. I eventually found out that this DR had served 5 years in Jackson for trying to kill his estranged wife (who was smart enough to leave his sorry behind) with a CLAW HAMMER TO THE HEAD 9 TIMES!!! And the state gave him his license back. At any rate, back to Greiffenstein. I refuse to call him a dr anymore. I was indeed hurt and hurt badly. I had to have extensive cervical spine surgery after I saw him. I ended up having 6 hours of surgery where the damage was so bad my neurosurgeon (who had done my first surgery and is one of the top guys around) had to remove the top layer of my spinal cord and patch it because of bone fragments in it and I spent 5 days in the hospital. When does anyone get 5 days in a hospital anymore? Now, a little over two years after that surgery, I have had to have more surgery and am living with constant pain and severe loss of function and still am without my benefits–although my former employer is in talks with an attorney. I may lose my house to back taxes though. A police officer I know told me what Greiffenstein did was non-aggravated assault. I was also made to stay against my will and knowing I needed medical help. I was forced to stay for hours and am maimed for life. This jerk got a big check and cannot be sued or prosecuted because he has immunity. So does the insurer and my former employer who went along with all of this–the state of MI. They are hurting but they spent over 10 grand in just 3 months taking away about $800/month from me. Oh, yeah, a MD who had found for me changed his mind (and will not explain why) when he read “Manny’s” little report. I only hope what goes around comes around and these guys suffer as much pain in their lives as they inflict on others. They took an oath and that oath says to do no harm, do no injustice, and to not play God. Guess what, they break it everyday, all day. As far as I’m concerned, I was violated in the worst possible way and to this day, if I have to see a dr I don’t know, I’m very afraid.

  6. add Dr. william t. monacci to your list of defense medical examiners , who like to ruin lives for biiiiiiiig money from insurance companies.

  7. Dr. Dan deVries, mentioned above, still has his license and does IME… It is unbelievable to me that he is allowed to continue advising others and practicing medicine.

  8. I HAVE A SEVEARE TBI, WAS LATE SHOWING UP FOR MY IME WITH DR. PHILLIP MAYER M.D. tHE RECEPTIONAST SAID I CAN WAIT AN HOUR OR RESCHEDULE. i SAID I’LL RESCHEDULE SINCE I HAVE ANOTHER DOCTORS APPT. i STILL NEED HELP FROM MY DRS. A NEUROPSYCHOLOGY,PSYCHIATRIST, PM & R DR. ,NEUROLOGIST, SPINE SURGEN,HEAD AND NECK INSTITUTE, ORTHOPEDIC SURGEONS AND MY OPHTHALMOLGIST. BECAUSE I WAS LATE, THE STATE FARM INSURANCE ADJUSTER (BONNI CHILDS) OR THE SPAWN OF SATAN! DECIDED TO CUT ME OFF,
    I’M SUPPOSE TO START PT FOR A BACK FUSHION I HAD 7 WEEKS AGO, AND WHAT ABOUT MY MEDS I TAKE 16 PILLS A DAY.tHE STATE OR U.S. GOVERMENT NEEDS TO STEP IN AND PENELIZE THE INSURANCE COMPANIES AND ADUJUSTERS FOR PLAYING GOD AND TAKING AWAY BENIFITS WERE INTITLED TO.

  9. Bonni “spawn of the devil” Childs has cut me off! Iwas in the middle of a mri of my knee, ekg of my knek and spine and another mri of my back, due to extream pain. She also cancelled my care givers. My tbi left me eith imulstivity,anxesnois,shert term memory lost the whole right side of my body weak. I have 1 month of meds left. Now what do i do? I cant afford a lawyer. I cant believe our United States govt allows this to happen, are they dumb to the fact or just plain dumb?Insurance adjusters need to be shackled and cained, or at the very least tazered.

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