Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Getting familiar with IMEcentric & IMEBASE

Have you or your client been sent to Dr. Thomas W. Grossman for a so-called "Independent Medical Examination"? If so, you may not realize that Dr. Grossman was likely hired by the defense insurer or lawyer through Crawford Evaluation Group by way of IMEBASE.  Dr. Grossman is in Crawford's stable of doctors earning huge sums of money reporting and testifying for insurers.  IMEcentric and IMEBASE are software programs that connect physicians who want to earn those huge sums with insurers.  Interestingly, Dr. Grossman has worked for both ExamWorks predecessor, Verity Medical, and Crawford, and probably may other IME companies.

In any event, IMEBASE's website explains:
"Are you running IME management software owned by your largest competitor? Two years ago, ExamWorks acquired IME Software Solutions, the creator of IMEcentric. If you’re using IMEcentric, you’re trusting your largest competitor to secure all of your case information, physician lists, and any other data you enter into their system.
imebase is the independent IME management solution. imebase and its parent company, Innova Partners, are exclusively dedicated to software development. We do NOT perform IMEs, manage the IME process, or anything that competes with your business. Our sole focus is to provide software that makes you more successful."

You may remember ExamWorks from the post ExamWorks - IME's are Big Business.  Today, ExamWorks is almost a $1 billion company and IMEcentric is how its stable of physicians are connected with insurers.  In fact, it's website shows "profitability reports" citing huge insurers like Geico and State Farm.

Lawyers practicing personal injury law should familiarize themselves with this software and discover as much information as possible about the "independent" doctor's earnings and work for insurance companies.

By the way, other Wisconsin IME "brokers" that may utilize these software systems include: EvaluMed, Integrity Medicolegal Enterprises, Medical Consultants Network, Medical Systems, Inc., and Woodlake Medical Management.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Phone Calls From Lawyers After a Car Accident

Today, for the first time, I learned from a client that she not only received personal injury lawyers' letters after her Milwaukee car accident, but received about 20 phone calls from lawyers on her mobile phone.  This is absolutely, positively disgusting and a direct ethical violation of Wisconsin Supreme Court Rule SCR 20:7.3, which prohibits such contact.  Wisconsin lawyers must not directly solicit clients they don't know, aren't related to, or haven't been asked to call.  Even though your cell phone number or home phone number is listed in a car accident report, this doesn't open you up to phone calls from lawyers, Wisconsin chiropractors working for lawyers, or anyone else working for or on behalf of a lawyer.

I highly recommend that you answer these attorneys' phone calls, find out the Wisconsin law office or lawyer they are working for, and then immediately report the lawyer to the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation.  You can easily submit a grievance over the telephone at (608) 267-7274 or (877) 315-6941 (toll free).

Do not hire a lawyer or go to a "free" visit with anyone as the result of a telephone call.  Hiring a Wisconsin lawyer or law firm is an important decision and shouldn't be done that way.

Accident victims looking for the best Wisconsin lawyer should use independent sources like Best Lawyers in America (Wisconsin Best Lawyers), Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings (AV® Preeminent™), and Super Lawyers (Wisconsin Super Lawyers). For a personal injury attorney, make sure that the lawyers are active members of The American Association for Justice and Wisconsin Association for Justice.
Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney

Monday, April 08, 2013

Gruber Law Offices Reviews on Google+

The other day I was working with our Internet people and had to put time into our Google+ page, Pasternak & Zirgibel S.C. - Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyers.

While there, I perused various Wisconsin personal injury attorneys' Google+ pages and came across a page for Gruber Law Offices, LLC, which, as I referred to in the previous post, currently saturates Milwaukee with personal injury law firm advertising.  Based on the reviews I read on Gruber Law Offices Google+ page, it seems the firm ought to refocus its efforts.  In fact, the two Gruber reviews at Google+ are so horrible and make awful allegations that I will not reprint them.  For the record, I have no personal experience with that law firm other than what I see on T.V.  I'll also say that I've seen Wisconsin injury lawyers go the other way and load up review sites with nothing but glowing reviews (if it sounds too good to be true, it is). 

Like all forms of opinion and advertising, take this Gruber thing with a grain of salt.  Instead, any consumer hunting for a Wisconsin lawyer ought to use independent sources like Best Lawyers in America (Wisconsin Best Lawyers), Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings (AV® Preeminent™), and Super Lawyers (Wisconsin Super Lawyers).  For a personal injury attorney, also make sure that the lawyers are active members of The American Association for Justice and Wisconsin Association for Justice.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Attorney
Addendum:  It looks like after this post Gruber Law Offices went to great lengths to get "rave" reviews.  It's interesting for sure, and pretty consistent with what we all know about the web, you get what you pay for.  That said, my last paragraph definitely still stands.  See also my recent post on personal injury mills. 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Habush v. Cannon: The Final Chapter?

Wisconsin's Court of Appeals has issued an opinion, Habush v. Cannon - Ct of App decision.  I'm not sure whether this will be the end of the litigation or whether it will go to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, but it seems to me that lawyer advertising in Wisconsin is the wild, wild, west.  Then again, it seemed that way to me when I first arrived and saw Habush, at the time, saturating t.v. with advertising.  Today, in the Milwaukee area at least, it's another firm, Gruber Law Offices, but that firm will be the topic of the next post.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bad Drivers Shouldn’t Profit Off of Good Drivers’ Health Insurance

Frank Pasternak

By Frank Pasternak

Imagine a law that will only benefit those people who do not have any health insurance and wrongdoers.

Well on February 13, Sen. Paul Farrow (who represents an area of Waukesha County that includes Pewaukee, Delafield, Hartland and Waukesha) and Sen. Glenn Grothman (who represents an area near West Bend and parts of northern Ozaukee County, including Port Washington and Cedarburg) did more than just imagine it; they introduced it. It’s Senate Bill 22, a law that would eliminate a long-standing rule of law in Wisconsin called the “collateral source rule.”

Basically, the rule says that benefits an injured person receives from sources that have nothing to do with the wrongdoer or “bad guy” causing the injury may not be used to reduce the bad guy's liability to the injured person. In other words, bad guys don’t get credit for benefits the injured person received just because the injured person was insured. This has been the law of Wisconsin for about 100 years.

The simple truth behind the rule is clear: wrongdoers should not benefit from the fact that the person they wronged was responsible enough to get insured. Unfortunately, however, as with many things, politics seems to have gotten in the way. Somehow, liability insurance companies like American Family, West Bend and others have convinced law makers, like Farrow and Grothman, that the bad guys should benefit from the fact that the injured person was responsible.

The law Farrow and Grothman have introduced will basically harm senior citizens, people who get insurance through their employer, and those on Medicaid. Ironically, the people who benefit from this law are those who do not have any health insurance and wrongdoers.

Let me explain: Say there’s a car accident where the wrongdoer ran a red light and caused four different people to incur $100,000.00 in medical bills each. All four suffered the same injuries and needed the same medical treatment. However, Victim #1 had no insurance, Victim #2 had Anthem BCBS through his employer, Victim #3 is a senior citizen on Medicare, and Victim #4 is a poor person on Medicaid.

Farrow and Grothman’s proposed law will allow into evidence the fact that Victim #2’s Anthem BCBS paid 80% of the bills due to contractual write-offs, the fact that Victim #3’s Medicare paid 60% of the bills, and Victim #4’s Medicaid paid 40% of the bills. As a result of Farrow and Grothman’s proposal, the recovery for medical bills will likely be:
  1. Victim #1 $100,000 (the uninsured guy)
  2. Victim #2 $80,000 (Employee with employer-sponsored health insurance)
  3. Victim #3 $60,000 (Senior citizen with Medicare)
  4. Victim #4 $40,000 (Poor person with Medicaid)
Now remember, the amount of the bills for all four people was the same $100,000. They all suffered the same injury in the same accident, but because of Farrow and Grothman’s proposed law, the bad guy causing the accident gets the benefit of the fact that Victim #2 was an employee with employer-sponsored health insurance, Victim #3 was a senior citizen on Medicare, and Victim #4 was a poor person on Medicaid. The other beneficiary of the proposed law would be Victim #1, the uninsured.

Under the current law, the red-light-running driver must pay the reasonable value of the injuries he caused, $400,000. Under the new proposal, the driver running the red light-will likely only pay, $280,000.

Under Wisconsin law today, the bad guy causing the accident does not get the benefit. The bad guy is simply responsible for the amount of the bills, assuming it is reasonable, and the only person who benefits is the person responsible enough to have insurance, the collateral source. Wisconsin law today says, rightfully, that bad guys do not get to benefit from good guys having insurance. The law today says that if anyone in this situation should benefit, it is the one who did not cause the accident. Surely, the one who caused the accident should not benefit.

Sadly, however, politics makes strange law, but I hope that’s not the case here. I believe in better. You deserve better. Sen. Grothman and Sen. Farrow should not support this law.

Email Sen. Paul Farrow at Sen.Farrow@legis.wisconsin.gov and Sen. Glenn Grothman at Sen.Grothman@legis.wisconsin.gov and tell them why they should not support this law. Tell Sen. Grothman and Sen. Farrow that this attempt to change Wisconsin’s 100-year-old law is unfair to Wisconsin citizens who are responsible enough to get health insurance.

The original version of this article is at Stand Up for Your Rights Wisconsin

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer