The Montana WC court in Hagberg v. Ace American Insurance Company wcc no. 2018-4206 (4/15/2019) dealt with a claimant who injured his back at work lifting a 200-250 lb. burner on 5/18/20016. In a battle of the experts, the report of the IME physician Schabacker was discounted due to his lack of specifics about the mechanism of injury.

The court stated:

As for the second factor, the facts show that Dr. Schabacker relied upon and based his opinions on better evidence than Dr. Erpelding. Dr. Schabacker incorporated the mechanism and severity of Hagberg’s industrial injury into his determination that Hagberg’s current pain stems from his May 18, 2006, injury. As Dr. Schabacker points out in his March 4, 2017, letter, there is no evidence that Dr. Erpelding understood the mechanism or severity of Hagberg’s injury because Dr. Erpelding’s report is silent on these issues. The only description in Dr. Erpelding’s IME report provides that Hagberg “was moving a burner bucket when he felt pain in his lower back.” This Court has rejected the opinions of IME physicians who do not fully understand the mechanism of, or severity of, the industrial injury.

Lesson: Physicians performing IMEs need to adequately address the issue of mechanism of injury in their reports to be considered persuasive by the fact finder.