For Attorneys and corporate clients

Is Malpractice Insurance Required for IME and Expert Witness Work?

Dr. Lev Grinman, Founder
Dr. Lev Grinman, Founder

Dr. Lev Grinman is board certified in neurology and sleep medicine with a subspecialty focus in intraoperative monitoring. Dr. Grinman lives in New York with his wife and 3 children.

When it comes to providing medical services, healthcare professionals are expected to adhere to certain standards of care. However, mistakes can still happen, and when they do, malpractice insurance is there to protect both the patient and the provider. But what about independent medical exams and expert witness work? Do they fall under malpractice insurance? The short answer is no, and here’s why.

First, let’s define what we mean by independent medical exams (IMEs) and expert witness work. An IME is an evaluation conducted by a healthcare professional who is not the patient’s treating physician. These exams are typically requested by insurance companies or attorneys to assess the extent of a patient’s injuries or disabilities. Expert witness work, on the other hand, involves providing testimony in court as an expert in a particular field, such as medicine, to assist with legal cases.

While both IMEs and expert witness work involve providing medical expertise, they differ significantly from traditional patient care. For one, neither activity involves a provider-patient relationship. The healthcare professional is not responsible for the ongoing care of the patient and is not making any medical decisions or providing treatment. Additionally, the purpose of IMEs and expert witness work is to provide an independent assessment of a patient’s condition, rather than to diagnose or treat a medical issue.

Because IMEs and expert witness work are not considered medical treatment, they do not fall under malpractice insurance. Malpractice insurance is designed to protect healthcare providers in the event that they make a mistake while providing medical care. If a patient suffers harm as a result of a healthcare provider’s negligence, malpractice insurance can help cover the costs of legal fees, settlements, and judgments. However, because IMEs and expert witness work do not involve medical treatment, there is no risk of harm to a patient. Therefore, there is no need for malpractice insurance.

Instead, healthcare professionals who provide IMEs and expert witness work are typically covered by errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. E&O insurance, also known as professional liability insurance, is designed to protect professionals who provide advice or services to clients. This type of insurance can cover legal fees and damages if a client suffers financial harm as a result of the professional’s actions or advice. In the case of healthcare professionals who provide IMEs and expert witness work, E&O insurance can protect them if they make a mistake in their evaluation or testimony that results in financial harm to the party that hired them.

To protect it’s doctors’ from any potential liability while performing IME and Medical Expert Witness assignments, MLP IME carries a comprehensive General Liability policy that includes E&O coverage. MLP IME’s insurance policy covers all physicians that it works with who perform IME and Medical Expert Witness assignments, both for US based and international claims. MLP IME physicians can therefore rest assured that they will be covered for all assignments completed through MLP IME.

In conclusion, while independent medical exams and expert witness work both involve providing medical expertise, they do not fall under malpractice insurance. Because these activities do not involve medical treatment or a provider-patient relationship, there is no risk of harm to a patient, and therefore no need for malpractice insurance. Instead, healthcare professionals who provide IMEs and expert witness work are typically covered by errors and omissions insurance, which is designed to protect professionals who provide advice or services to clients. As with any type of insurance, it’s important for healthcare professionals to carefully review their E&O policy to ensure that it provides the appropriate level of protection for their specific needs.

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