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IME Status Renders N.Y. Doctor’s Testimony, Reports Inadmissible

10 May, 2023 Frank Ferreri

subway 2893846 640
                               

New York, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) -- How much does medical treatment have to look like an independent medical examination to officially count as an IME?

In Feldman v. New York City Transit Authority, 2023 WL 3099529 (N.Y. App. Div. 04/27/23), the court explained that a worker's medical expert was actually an IME doctor and thus couldn't provide evidence on the worker's behalf.

A subway inspector and repairperson applied for workers' compensation benefits alleging that he contracted COVID-19 at his workplace.

In response, the inspector's employer challenged the admissibility of the reports and testimony of one of his medical experts, arguing that the expert was an independent medical examiner and that the provisions of New York law regarding independent medical examinations had not been complied with.

The inspector argued that the expert was his treating physician, and so the IME rules didn't apply.

Workers' Comp 101: What is an independent medical examination, usually called an "IME"? It's a medical exam made by an impartial healthcare professional that's not presented on behalf of either party. Judges in workers' compensation cases tend to rely heavily on IME reports in reaching their decisions.

Ultimately, the Workers' Compensation Board found that the examinations constituted IMEs, and so it precluded the doctor's reports and testimony from being admitted into evidence.

The inspector appealed.

In New York, IME reports must be submitted by the practitioner on the same day and in the same manner to the board, insurance carrier, claimant's attending physician, and the claimant. Additionally, other requirements attach to the conducting of the IME.

On appeal, the court agreed with the employer that an IME took place in the inspector's case. The court faulted the inspector for not earlier arguing that an exception applied to permit the doctor's reports and testimony to be considered in evidence.

"[The doctor] testified that she examined claimant for the purpose of providing an opinion as to whether claimant's illness was work-related, rendering her an independent medical examiner," the court explained.

Thus, the court rejected the inspector's appeal.


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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

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