Understanding An Independent Medical Examination In Your Case, And Knowing What To Tell Your Treating PhysiciansMedical Malpractice Mistakes
In vertically all personal injury matters, you will have to subject yourself to what is known as an independent medical examination. This is where the defense gets to hire a doctor to examine you physically as compared to the alleged injuries in your pleadings. This doctor will spend up to an hour with you and attempt to debunk years of care rendered by your treating providers.
But let’s back up—the DEFENSE hires this doctor.
There is nothing “independent” about this.
I call these “defense medical examinations” because that is exactly what it is. A doctor is being paid by the defense to examine you and give the defense the words and findings they want. After all, if a doctor hired by the defense gives a report which is plaintiff-friendly, do you think that defense attorney will ever hire that doctor again?
Which is why the majority of defense medical examinations are a farce. They are paid to say what the defendant wants them to say. To that extent, plaintiff’s medical examinations—hired by the plaintiff—are not the greatest either.
But this is why your TREATING physicians are the best. These doctors are the ones who have been treating you for months or years. They know you personally and your body, and know what is normal for you and not normal. They will be able to give a fair opinion to a jury or trial, much more than any other hired doctor.
This is why your treating physicians are your best ally in any lawsuit—much better than a plaintiff’s medical examination.
But this is also why you need to explain everything that hurts to your providers. This is not the time to be a hero! If you are hurting, you need to explain it thoroughly so it goes into your medical records. Do not hide symptoms. If something hurts, get it examined.
But also do not exaggerate symptoms—do not make up injuries or claims. If you are hurt, that is one thing. But if you are making things up, not only will the defense attorney find out and attack your credibility in front of a jury, but I will find out and I may not represent you anymore. The jury will also find out, so will the judge. And worst of all, your treating physicians and providers will find out and now you will lose your BEST ally to winning your case.
If you are hurt, tell your providers everything and get treatment. Don’t be macho and don’t think you are bothering them by complaining. But never lie or exaggerate; only claim what is true.