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Nicolet Law managing attorney Russell Nicolet

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The Not-So Independent Medical Examiner

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The Not-So Independent Medical Examiner

Doctor bandaging the arm of an injured factory worker on job site

Workplace injuries are not unusual. So many people are hurt while working that an entire system had to be created to address the problem. While an injury at home or on the roads may involve a finding of negligence, workplace injuries avoid that. Workers who are injured are, for the most part, barred from pursuing personal injury lawsuits against their employers. In exchange, employers must carry workers' compensation insurance which will pay for costs such as medical care, some lost wages and expenses tied to long-term disability.

Unfortunately, employers and their insurers are sometimes reluctant to live up to even the minimal requirements of workers' compensation law. One way they seek to avoid their responsibilities is through the use of "independent" doctors who are quite reliably not independent.

A stacked deck

Most employees will file zero or one workers' compensation claim over the course of their careers. Insurance companies handle thousands of these claims. They are repeat customers when it comes to needing favorable medical findings. They are naturally drawn to doctors who somehow always conclude that a worker is healthy enough to return to work, regardless of that worker's actual condition. In Wisconsin, these "independent" medical examiners don't even have to be licensed, or located within the state, to help employers deny valid compensation claims.

Part of the problem is that the independent medical examiners have nothing on the line when it comes to incorrect reports. They are not held to the same standards as a treating physician. They cannot be sued for medical malpractice. Their only financial incentive is in getting their fees paid by the employer's insurance company.

Who are they fooling?

Workers who don't understand the biased nature of these examiners could be pressured into returning to work before they are able. They could miss out on benefits to which they are legally entitled. Not everyone understands that these doctors can lie about a diagnosis with no repercussions.

In the courtroom, the injured worker and the employer each have an opportunity to present their side of the issue. While the results might not always be fair, there is a sort of balance. The damage these independent medical examiners do is limited once a case proceeds to trial. That is why it is so important for workers to realize that they should not take an independent medical examiner at his or her word. It is always a good idea to get the opinion of a non-biased medical professional when it comes to workplace injuries.

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SEE HOW NICOLET LAW MAKES A DIFFERENCE IN OUR CLIENTS’ CASES

CAR ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$1,200,000.00

CAR ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$50,000.00

SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$700,000.00

SEMI-TRUCK ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$75,000.00

SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$180,000.00

SLIP AND FALL ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$5,000.00

PEDESTRIAN HIT BY CAR

Result with Nicolet Law 
$1,050,000.00

PEDESTRIAN HIT BY CAR

Offer before Nicolet Law
$0.00 - denial

DRUNK DRIVING ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$815,000.00

DRUNK DRIVING VICTIM

Offer before Nicolet Law
$0.00

UTV ACCIDENT

Result with Nicolet Law 
$250,000.00

UTV ACCIDENT

Offer before Nicolet Law
$5,000.00
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12 locations in Wisconsin and Minnesota to serve you

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Wisconsin Locations:

EAU CLAIRE:

402 Graham Ave.
Suite 305
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Phone: (715) 835-5959
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HUDSON:

517 2nd Street
Unit #205
Hudson, WI 54016

Phone: 715-226-6158
Map & Directions

LA CROSSE:

119 N 19th St S
La Crosse, WI 54601

Phone: 608-527-0876
Map & Directions

NEW RICHMOND:

1500 Madison Ave.
Suite 220
New Richmond, WI 54017

Phone: 715-226-6164
Map & Directions

RICE LAKE:
337 North Main Street
Rice Lake, WI 54868

Phone: (715) 790-1114
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RIVER FALLS:
215 S 2nd St #20
River Falls, WI 54022

Phone: (715) 716-5869
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SUPERIOR:
1200 Tower Ave.
Superior, WI 54880

Phone: (715) 718-2969
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WAUSAU:
408 3rd Street
Suite 303
Wausau, WI 54403

Phone: (715) 716-5092
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Minnesota Locations:

DULUTH:
306 West Superior Street,
Suite 606 West
Duluth, MN 55802

Phone: (218) 729-0628
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HIBBING:
Howard Court Bldg.
302 Howard Street, Suite 123
Hibbing, MN 55746

Phone: 218-217-0659
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MINNEAPOLIS:
225 South 6th Street
Suite 3900
Minneapolis, MN 55402
Phone: (608) 315-5639
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WOODBURY:
724 Bielenberg Drive
Suite 126
Woodbury, MN 55125

Phone: (651) 815-0017
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Wisconsin and Minnesota’s Local Award-Winning Injury and Disability Attorneys.
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