At some point in a personal injury case, my clients are required to attend one or more
examinations by doctors hired by the insurance company. The courts require that the insurance companies call these
examinations compulsory medical examinations or CME’s. A few years ago, they were called independent medical examinations which was a very misleading way to describe these
examinations since there is nothing independent about them. And no matter what these examinations are called, it is important that you know
that it is the INSURANCE COMPANY, not you, that select the
doctors who will examine you. These doctors are willing to take
time away from treating patients, in order to sell their time
to the insurance company. Typically, the insurance company has worked
with these doctors for years, and in many cases, have paid them
individually over a million dollars. There are a few reasons why doctors are willing
to perform these compulsory medical examinations. One, as I already mentioned,
they are paid very well. Some doctors have been paid several millions
of dollars by working for insurance companies. Usually, a compulsory medical exam doctor gets paid a
lot more to perform these insurance exams than they do for treating real patients. Also, CME doctors do not have to worry about things like
submitting bills to insurance and collections, and having to wait to get paid. With the insurance company writing their checks, it sidesteps the normal financial burden
that treating doctors experience every day. Two, they have no
malpractice exposure. In other words, they have no duty to the
person being examined, and they are not treating them, and therefore they only represent the
insurance company’s interests, and not yours. If and when you are required to attend
a compulsory medical examination, here a few additional things that
are important for you to know; It is very important that you arrive on
time because of penalties if you are late. Also, it is important to know that we almost always send
a videographer to videotape the entire examination. We do this to protect our client’s rights. By videotaping the examination, we can make sure that the doctor
does not make up any stories by saying you could touch
your toes when you could not. Also, it creates a record about what you
and he said during the examination. We have found in the past that there are many
doctors working for insurance companies, who will be less than forthright regarding our client’s
performance and our client’s statements to the doctor. By videotaping the entire examination,
we are able to more fully protect our client. If you arrive at the examination,
and there is no videographer there, you should wait and not allow the doctor to begin the
examination until you are protected with your videographer. Also, some insurance company
doctors will ask that you disrobe. This may be appropriate provided that they give you
a medical gown to wear during the examination. Also, the videographer is instructed not to film
you during this portion of the examination. Here is a tip of something you
should do to help youself. I highly recommend that you go see your own treating
physician before the insurance examination, and then again after the insurance examination. By having your own doctor examine you both before
and after the insurance company examination, you sandwich the insurance company doctor’s
examination with your doctors exams. So when the insurance company doctor says that
you had no restrictions in your range of motion, yet your treating doctor
who saw you the day before and the day after the insurance examination has
notes of the restrictions in your range of motion, this will be your proof that the insurance
company doctor’s opinion should not be believed. Some insurance doctors will attempt
to perform INVASIVE testing, but be advised that they are not permitted to
use any needles or make any cuts on your body. At the most, they are allowed to test
your reflexes and sensitivity to touch. You should never be hooked
up to any types of machines, have x-rays, MRIs or CT scans taken, or give any types of nerve conduction studies. If the doctor attempts to do
any of these type of tests, you should politely refuse
and call your attorney, and if you need to, leave the examination
until this matter can be resolved. The doctor will ask questions about the accident and what physical and or mental problems
related to the accident you have experienced. This should not be like a deposition where
they ask you hundreds of questions. When they ask you to explain
how the accident happened, be careful in your explanation and your
explanation should be in simple terms. You should not get into
details of distances time, speed or other things that relate to
the liability or fault of the crash. I have seen insurance doctors come into court and say
that you admitted the accident was all your fault, or something like you said that you
admitted that you ran a red light. So if you are pressed for details about distance, speed,
time, and other information about liability or fault, please tell the doctor that you
explained that in your deposition and that he can get a
copy of that deposition from the attorney working for the insurance company
that is paying him to do this examination. You are not going to sit there
and answer a million questions. You are there for an
examination, not a deposition. They will also ask about your medical history. Please be accurate about your medical history. If you forget to tell the doctor about any of your
prior problems that you may of had in the past, they may suggest that you were
less than honest with them. Some of my clients have a notebook that they bring
with them to all of their doctor appointments to make sure they accurately tell the
doctors about their prior medical history. It is important that you show
the doctor where it hurts. If there are certain physical activities
which tend to make your condition worse, it is far better for the doctor to be able to examine
you when you’re having a relatively bad day. If you know that cutting the grass on
Sunday makes you feel bad on Monday, and the examination is on Monday
then cutting the grass on Sunday will help you and the doctor identify
the areas where you’re having problems. You need to know that the compulsory medical
examination will begin in the doctors parking lot. Many insurance company doctors will take the time to watch
you get out of your car and walk into the building. They will continue to watch you while
you are waiting for the examination and watch how you get up from
the chair in the waiting room. During the examination, they will observe your
movements such as how you take off your shoes. When you have a back injury they will certainly
make a note of the type of shoes you were wearing. High heeled shoes and back
injuries do not go together. When the exam with the doctor is over, you will even be watched as you exit
the building and return to your car. Quite often the insurance company doctor will
ask you what your doctors have told you. Your reply should be short and simple. For example, you might say “my doctor says that I will
have trouble for the rest of my life,” or “my doctor says I am getting
better, but it’s going to take time.” Or, “I am getting better, however I will never
be like I used to be before the accident. ” Watch out for last-minute changes. If for any reason the doctor or someone
in his office calls you to make a change, tell them to go through your attorney, because you are not able to make any scheduling
changes without your attorney agreeing. They do this so that the videographer
won’t be there to record the exam. And watch out if the doctor says that the examination
is over and tells the videographer he can leave. You leave when the videographer leaves. Also, keep in mind that any conversations you
have with your attorney is privileged, so if the doctor were to ask you any questions
about discussions you had with your attorney, simply flat out refuse to answer
any of those types of questions. Typically the insurance doctors will
come the court to court and testify that (a) you are not hurt or (b) if you are hurt it’s
not because of the accident, or (c) you are faking or
over exaggerating your pain, or (d) you’re only bringing this lawsuit in hopes of
obtaining money, and not because you are injured. So remember, during an examination, the insurance doctor’s job is to attempt
to gather as much information about you and your condition so that he can damage
or severely weaken your case at trial. It is crucial to remember that the insurance doctor
is NOT your friend, and he is NOT there to help you. He is being hired by the insurance company because they know
that the opinion he will render will be favorable to them. In all my experience of trying personal injury cases, I have NEVER seen a report said that the injured
victim had a permanent injury caused by the crash. I hope you find this information helpful and
are able to use it to help protect your rights in the event that you are examined by the insurance
company doctors or experts in the future. Thank you for watching my video and if you have
any questions, please do not hesitate to call me.