A Case of Medical Malpractice
Sometimes when someone is significantly injured in an accident, the insurance company may send that person to their favorite doctor-for-hire for a defense medical exam. If the insurance company’s doctor-for-hire issues a medical report denying or greatly minimizing the accident related injury and causes the person’s injury to worsen, he/she has committed medical malpractice. Then the injured person can sue for damages.
The standard of medical care demands that medical doctors in all capacities who meet with patients have a responsibility to their patient first and not any insurance company. Attorney Joseph Joy is the first personal injury lawyer in Louisiana to have successfully brought a medical malpractice suit against an insurance company’s doctor-for-hire and win for his client in excess of $1,000,000.
In this medical malpractice case, Joseph Joy raised the bar and established a new precedent of care for all medical patients from doctors. Prior to Joseph Joy filing a medical malpractice suit for his injured oilfield worker client, insurance company doctors-for-hire assumed that because they were performing a defense medical exam for the insurance company and being paid by the insurance company, they were immune from medical malpractice. There was an assumption among insurance doctors that the doctor-patient relationship did not exist in performing medical exams, and they were exempt from the medical standard of care expected of all treating physicians.
Attorney Joseph Joy’s oilfield worker client severely injured his lower back while working. His treating physician recommended that he undergo lumbar fusion surgery due to an obviously herniated disk. The defendant’s insurance company retained a local orthopedic surgeon to perform a defense medical evaluation. The insurance doctor-for-hire performing Mr. Joy’s client’s exam was the defense medical examiner and not the treating physician.
The defendant doctor presumed he had no responsibility or medical liability to the injured worker whom he was examining as a medical doctor for the insurance company. He allegedly spent only about 15-minutes with Mr. Joy’s client and issued a written medical report in favor of the insurance company and against the injured oilfield worker. He also stated in his medical report that Mr. Joy’s client did not need surgery and could go back to work.
As a result of the insurance company’s doctor’s medical opinion, the insurance company stopped paying worker compensation benefits and denied the injured oilfield worker lumbar fusion surgery that was recommended by his treating orthopedic surgeon. He ultimately underwent an emergency lumbar fusion that was unsuccessful due to the unreasonable delay caused by the insurance company’s doctor’s negligent medical report and his medical malpractice. He also suffered permanent and debilitating injury.
Joseph Joy on behalf of his client sued the insurance company’s doctor-for-hire for medical malpractice. He argued in Federal Court and proved before a 12-person jury that his client had been further and significantly injured by the insurance company’s doctor who committed medical malpractice when the insurance physician created a negligent medical report favoring the insurance company and denying his client’s work-related back injury and need for lumbar fusion surgery.
The Federal jury ruled in favor of Mr. Joy and his client after a weeklong trial in Federal Court and awarded $1.2 million dollars for the insurance doctor’s medical malpractice. The Federal Court held that when an insurance company doctor-for-hire performs a defense medical evaluation a physician-patient relationship is established which mandates the insurance company doctor is held to the same standard of medical care to his/her patient as the treating physician.
This medical malpractice case has statewide significance because this is the only known case that was successfully brought against an insurance company’s physician performing a defense medical exam. It also received national recognition when John Larson with NBC Dateline interviewed attorney Joseph Joy.
Attorney Joseph Joy is an experienced, legal expert in litigating medical malpractice and all types of personal injury claims and cases. He has the right answers to your medical malpractice questions.