Monday, June 15, 2015

What is a Compulsory Medical Examination?

Often times when cases go into litigation the defense will require my client to undergo an examination by a physician of their choice. This is referred to as a “Compulsory Medical Examination” (CME). Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.360 outlines the procedure by which the defense is to follow when scheduling a CME and the guidelines by which the examination is to take place. The operative word is that this type of examination is “compulsory” meaning the plaintiff is required by the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure to attend. Most importantly, a CME is not performed by an independent medical examiner appointed by the court. Rather, a CME is conducted by a doctor hired and paid for by the insurance company to defend against your claim. Accordingly, a CME doctor is not a doctor who is retained to treat you for your injuries or provide you with medical care and guidance. The CME doctor’s sole purpose is to conduct an evaluation of your injuries for the insurance company that will invariably be favorable to the defendant.

Tips for Attending a Compulsory Medical Examination

Be Polite
Because this type of examination is mandatory and scheduled by the defendant, it is natural to feel apprehension prior to the appointment. It is important to be on time and to be polite. Regardless of the doctor’s demeanor towards you, remember to maintain courteousness throughout the evaluation.

Be Thorough and Truthful when Discussing your Injuries
Being truthful about the extent of your injuries and any past medical history you may have is critical. Withholding information about preexisting conditions or injuries you may have sustained in the past will only serve to hurt your case. Rather, be candid and honest in your responses. Always be thorough in your explanations of your injuries. This means describe to the CME doctor every specific complaint you are alleging is a result of the collision or incident at issue. If extensive time has passed between the incident and your CME appointment, review your prior medical records to refresh your memory regarding prior complaints you may have had directly following the accident that may have since resolved.

Do Not Speak about the Incident Itself
A defense doctor conducting a CME is allowed to inquire into extent of your injuries, but is to refrain from asking questions surrounding the incident itself—whether it be a car accident, slip and fall, etc. You are allowed to say that you were involved in a collision but the defense doctor is not a decision maker regarding liability so inquiry should be limited.

Address any Questions or Concerns with your Attorney
Attending a compulsory medical examination can be an unnerving event. Asking your attorney what to expect can alleviate apprehension you may have prior to the appointment. Our office always requires that a compulsory medical examination of any of our clients be conducted in the presence of a videographer that we hire to ensure the examination does not exceed the scope permissible under Florida law.

Call Dolman Law Group

Insurance companies are making it more and more difficult to obtain fair compensation for the harms and losses you’ve suffered as the result of someone else’s negligence. Filing a lawsuit against the wrongdoer and pursuing the path of litigation is often the only means available to level the playing field. The attorneys at Dolman Law Group are well versed in this area and can help navigate you through this process. For more information call 727-451-6900.

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