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Michigan Auto Law’s Steve Gursten discusses IME Developments at MAJ No Fault Institute

September 15, 2016 by Steven M. Gursten

Steve teaches auto lawyers at No Fault Seminar how to combat insurance company IME fraud and he names names of some of the worst IME doctors in Metro Detroit and West Michigan

Pictured left to right: Richard Hillary, Tom Sinas, George Sinas, Maureen Kinsella, Wayne Miller, Steve Gursten and Nick Andrews

This Thursday, I’ll show a short, two-minute video of a doctor who changed my client’s answer to her question so she could then testify – under oath – that this was proof that he wasn’t brain injured in a truck accident case that went to trial in Jackson County, Michigan.

Many judges demand to know why – when I ask that an IME exam with a doctor hired by a defense lawyer or insurance company – why is it so important to videotape these so-called “independent” medical examinations of car accident injury victims by these insurance company-hired IME doctors?

There are many reasons. The videotape demonstrates the first reason better than I ever could. Who watches the watcher, as the old proverb asks? These IME doctors make extraordinary amounts of money and for many this is a substantial part of their income. The only way for personal injury attorneys to catch these IME doctors is to record these exams.

If a doctor is willing to lie under oath, such as about the answers they are given by an injured worker in a worker’s compensation case or an auto accident victim in an auto negligence case for pain and suffering compensation or a No Fault lawsuit for overdue No Fault PIP insurance benefits, then a jury is left to guess who is telling the truth – the doctor or the person who was examined.

These IME doctors often have a real bias and motivation to lie or exaggerate results on behalf of the side that hires them. Many are making staggering amounts of money every year performing these one-time exams for insurance companies.

Far too often, it is the jury who will believe it is the plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit – the person who is after all in court asking a jury for money – who has a greater incentive to lie over a medical doctor.

How can any personal injury attorney ever prove that an IME doctor is lying or manipulating test results in favor of the insurance company that hired him or her, if the exam cannot be recorded?

Why, I often ask of judges, would we unnecessarily undermine the integrity and trust in our civil justice system – a system that is predicated on uncovering the truth – and ask a jury to guess which side has a greater motivation to lie?

Recording these one-time insurance medical exams, or as claims adjusters and defense lawyers call them, so-called independent medical exams, protects the integrity of the exam, and all the parties involved, and it protects the integrity, fairness and justice of our system of law.

This is exactly why many other states, such as Florida, Oklahoma, Arizona, California, and others allow plaintiff personal injury attorneys to record these IME exams. It protects the integrity of the litigation process.

Unfortunately, I have one final reason to record these IME exams. This one is personal.

The recording will protect a lawyer’s ability to fight back if the IME doctor tries to abuse her power and position to silence him. In my case, I had a rather notorious IME doctor who also happened to sit on the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board, who didn’t like my exposing her and asking if she committed perjury. She tried to use her position on the Attorney Discipline Board to silence me, force me to take down the blog and trial transcript of her, and then to punish me for exposing her by going after my license to practice law.

As any Michigan motor vehicle accident attorney – or any injury attorney in this state already knows, the IME fraud and abuse that’s going on in our legal system is staggering. It is rampant, brazen and getting worse by the day.

That’s why I’m pleased and honored to be speaking about IME case law developments and practical tips for attorneys on how to combat IME fraud and abuse at the Michigan Association for Justice’s No Fault Institute XIII on September 15, 2016.

Naming names of the worst IME abusers

I know the names. If you’re an injury attorney in this state, you already know many of the names.

We all do. I will also talk about 5 more of the most notorious IME doctors in Michigan, sharing how much money they are making doing these one-time insurance company medical exams, and other examples of bias for the attorneys at the seminar.

But I don’t want to ruin the surprise.

To hear me name the names of the worst IME abusers, you’ll have to come see me between 11:20 am and 12:10 pm on Thursday at the MAJ’s No Fault Institute.

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