If you were hurt in an accident and have filed a lawsuit, you may eventually find yourself being sent to a compulsory medical examination (CME). Compulsory medical exams are done by doctors picked and paid for by the defense -- which means that they are looking to poke holes in your case. That makes it important to know how to handle one when it comes up. Here are a few things to consider:
1. Don't be misled about the nature of the exam. Sometimes insurance companies will call these doctor visits "independent" evaluations, but there is nothing independent about them. They are paid between $600 to $1500 per exam and many of these doctors make a significant portion of their income this way. If they come back with results that are favorable to the injured person too often, the insurance company is not going to keep hiring them. That gives the doctor a lot of incentive to see things in a light most favorable to the insurance company, not you.
2. Don't let your negative feelings show. No matter how you feel about having to go to the exam, there is nothing to be gained from expressing your displeasure to the doctor. He or she isn't personally singling you out -- this is simply the job that he or she has been hired to do. If you are hostile or angry, however, the doctor will record it and can testify about it in court. You don't want to give the impression that you have a reason to not want a medical exam.
3. Don't be overly friendly, either. The best demeanor to take is one that is polite, attentive, and serious. Paying attention will allow you to focus on the doctor's questions and give clear answers. Pausing before you answer a question will give you an opportunity to gather your thoughts and keeps the doctor from rushing you or pushing you into saying something you'll regret later. If you joke around, you could find your words turned against you. For example, a wry, "Oh, yeah, I'm doing great!" while you point to your cane can be written down as if they were factual. The doctor could also report that, despite the fact that you claim to be in a significant amount of pain, you were making jokes and didn't seem to be in any particular distress.
4. Do not discuss the accident or the lawsuit. Limit your conversation to your physical condition and limitations only. In Florida, the physician doing the CME is not allowed to ask you about the accident or your lawsuit. For example, if you injured your leg in a car accident, the doctor cannot ask you to describe exactly how your leg got hurt. However, if you volunteer the information, the doctor can use that information to question the validity of your statements. He or she may say that such an injury couldn't occur in the fashion you describe.
To learn more, contact a law firm like Bulluck Law Group.
5. Schedule an appointment with your doctor for the same day. If you can't schedule for the same day, try to schedule it for the day before or after. If the CME is especially negative to your case or highly inaccurate, your own treating physician's record can be used to refute the CME's testimony. It looks very strange for a physician paid for by the defense to allege something like you seem fully healed or have a full range of motion on the same day that your own physician notes that you still have a healing wound and limited mobility.
6. Make sure that your attorney is aware of the examination. Your attorney may want to send someone with you to the CME. He or she may even want to record it. It is very difficult for a physician to rush you, try to intimidate you, or ignore your statements when there is someone else there with you. If he or she does, the videotaped evidence can be used in court to demonstrate the doctor's bias or indifference. While your attorney should be notified by the defense of the exam, never assume that your attorney has the information until you check, especially if you get the notice and the exam is scheduled within a few days.
Once you've gone to the CME, it's too late to undo any damage that's been done. Make sure that you take the time to discuss the upcoming CME with your attorney and prepare yourself for the visit.
After you are involved in a serious car accident, you might feel confused about what to do next. In order to feel like yourself again, you might be tempted to try to go about your daily activities, only to come across loads of challenges. In addition to focusing on your own recovery, you might also be left wondering what to do about medical bills, pushy insurance adjusters, and annoying family members. However, the right lawyer can help you to find your way. My name is Dan, and I know firsthand how difficult it can be to recover from a bad injury. Read my website to learn how proper legal representation can simplify your journey.