Second opinions, independent medical examiners are usually considered by most orthopedic doctors as providing the same function and purpose: a fresh set of eyes to review the medical evidence and a fresh examination of the injured person.
In the workers' compensation field, there are far too many orthopedic doctors who are willing to do just about anything the insurance companies want them to do. For instance, if my client is examined at the insurance company's request by “their choice for an IME (Independent Medical Examiner), the IME doctor generally tries to say either:
• The injuries are not caused by the job accident • The injuries pre-date the accident at work • There is no continuing disability • The injured person can return to full duty work with no limitations whatsoever • There is no need for any medical treatment whatsoever • Or, the surgery proposed by the injured workers' doctor is not needed and not appropriate.
The insurance company IME (Independent Medical Examination or Second Opinion) causes much trouble for my clients. It allows the insurance companies to delay reasonable medical treatment from the authorized doctors or allow for the insurer to seek a cessation of benefits or to argue that the claim is worth much less at settlement time based on the IME doctor's opinion. We always fight for the treatment the doctors want for my clients, but we do acknowledge the extra delay caused by these pesky and many times untruthful insurance IME's.