Adams v. Gelman, concerning IME Insurance, was decided on November 10, 2016. The case involved three insurance claimants who jointly filed a lawsuit against a Delaware physician claiming that his work for insurance companies over decades, and perceived bias in favor of those companies, amounted to fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, battery, racketeering, and conspiracy. The trial court dismissed the case, determining not only that the physician’s actions were protected by the legal principle of witness immunity but also that none of these claims were legally valid. Plaintiffs appealed on the issue of fraud only and the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed, agreeing with the lower court that the physician’s actions did not amount to fraud.
Historically, witness immunity has been limited to suits for defamation or related torts but the lower court in Adams held, without explanation, that immunity protected the IME physician from the claims which were before the court – fraud, battery, breach of fiduciary duty, etc. The lower court decided that as long as the examinations and reports were reasonably germane to the litigation, the IME physician was immune from suit. The Delaware Supreme Court did not address immunity and so this ruling remains good law in Delaware.
- Though the case was dismissed the doctor had to provide his own defense and pay all expenses inherent in protecting himself.
- Don’t be a bare IME physician!
- IMEs are a great way to make supplemental income but make sure you are protected before you do another one!
- Does your practice properly protect itself in this situation?
- Your regular medical malpractice coverage covers bodily harm but not the above allegations.
- In order to protect our insureds, PPIX has created a LOW-COST proprietary IME insurance product. Please contact us so we can tell you about our IME Insurance Product.