CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- There is no doubt that insurers face the problem of insurance fraud. Quite correctly, they've banded together to use their considerable influence and clout to lobby state and federal governments to establish tough laws aimed at preventing or deterring such crimes.
But, there's an evil flipside to this no one is discussing -- the behavior of insurers in our civil courts and fraud by the insurers themselves.
Many states, including West Virginia, ban the mention of any insurer, for example, in a personal injury or medical negligence case, so jurors never know who the insurer is. But they all know there must be insurance, because they themselves are required by law to have it for their own homes or cars.
Ultimately, the behavior of the insurers leads to violations of the rights of the plaintiff in accident cases. The injured party, having been victimized by an accident is presumed by the insurer and attorney for the defendant, to be guilty of insurance fraud. Still worse, the plaintiff is compelled to undergo "independent" medical examinations that are neither independent nor fair, and ultimately all funded by the insurance company in an attempt to deceive juries and the American people.
Paid for, directly or indirectly (via defense counsel), these independent medical exams are rarely, if ever, fair to the victim (plaintiff) and inevitably result in a report written for the defense counsel that paints the plaintiff as a thief and fraud. There are doctors performing these examinations who do little else. They don't treat patients, but simply conduct these exams and write reports always favorable to the defense.
These doctors are often paid thousands of dollars for a single 15-minute exam and are often rewarded with several thousand more for their trial testimony. A single Defense Medical Examiner can make millions a year by throwing injured people under the bus, again.
These doctors prey upon the trusting nature of the accident victim, attempting to gain the trust of the individual, pretending as if there's a doctor-patient relationship, including the confidentiality that relationship normally entails. There is no such confidentiality, and the American Medical Association guides that only a very limited relationship exists, so everything said to these doctors can and likely will end up in their reports.
Those reports are rarely -- if ever -- truthful. Their purpose is establishing some statement that will impact a jury and paint the victim/plaintiff as a liar. Even when the defense admits fault, their sole purpose in obtaining these exams (as required by law), known as Rule 35 examinations, is to limit potential damages that may be awarded by the jury and prevent a fair recovery for the injured party.
One defense medical examiner in Charleston claims to have conducted over 30,000 such exams. Can such a doctor truly be examining the victim or reporting their true condition fairly? There is absolutely no chance of fairness. This raises the question: Aren't the insurer and defense attorneys guilty of insurance fraud, by paying for exams they know will be in their favor?