I currently have a senior citizen client who will drive a few miles to my office, but does not drive on the Beltway. The firm arranged a car service not Uber or Lyft to take her to and from the examination. I do not generally insist on clients being reimbursed for their lost time from work as a result of attending the examination. Thus, I have never litigated this potential condition. While it seems reasonable to me, I think some Judges would view the DME as something for which a plaintiff signed-up by filing a personal injury lawsuit akin to a deposition , and thus, would not order the defense to pay lost wages for the time involved in attending the examination.
In run of the mill connective tissue injury cases, it is probably not cost effective to have an observer, such as a nurse, attend the DME. In a larger case, or one with a client who is a minor or mentally challenged, it is often a wise precaution. Regarding logistics, I think it is wise to notify the defense that an observer will attend. While I would hope that a Judge would see through such nonsense, I would not want to have to pay for the nurse to appear twice if the Judge disagreed with me.
While I think this is a great idea, I have never taken this additional step and it has yet to matter in any of my cases. If I get an examiner I consider totally unfair and a good performer in Court, whom I believe is paid impressive sums of money from the insurance company behind the defense of the case, I will often send out subpoenas and deposition notices to the company itself or allied companies e.
Help when you need it.
If you put yourself in the shoes of a client attending a DME, you will quickly realize that this is an anxiety provoking event for most clients. They are going to be examined and scrutinized by a doctor who is likely being paid substantial sums by the insurance industry and probably testifies in far more cases than many of us try.
This process will be intimidating to clients before they face the doctor and, of course, some of these doctors will try to further intimidate clients during the exam. For these reasons, I like to prepare clients for these examinations myself.
Independent Medical Examinations - Things You Need to Know - Sharpe Law Firm
I remind clients to be honest and not exaggerate, but also to fully explain the injuries, any pain or limitations that they cause, and the effect that they have on their lives and I ask the client to explain these things to me so that I know that he can do so with the examiner. I will also review the mechanics of the injury, and if the precise mechanics are unknown, the reason s why this is so.
Of course, if there are any complicated issues regarding causation, future surgery or anything else in the case, we will discuss these as well.
If the doctor has a reputation for asking questions about liability unrelated to causation or damages, consider sending your client to the exam with a copy of his deposition transcript and instructing him to present it to the doctor if such questioning occurs. He can then tell the doctor that he has been instructed not to answer those questions because they are not proper. If you fail to attend the DME, the insurance company will conclude that you are an unreliable person and may, as a result, offer you less money if they choose to offer you any.
So please notify me immediately if you cannot attend your appointment so that it can be changed to a convenient date.
Independent Medical Examinations (IME)
If you are late for your appointment, the doctor is likely to make a notation, which could hurt you at trial, and, in addition, lateness is a factor which could prejudice the doctor towards you. Many doctors have a policy of watching you enter or leave the office so that they can compare your walking when you think that you are unobserved to your walking when you know that the doctor is observing you. For this reason, you should be aware of the possibility that the doctor is observing you before or after your appointment and you should not exaggerate while walking in the doctor's office.
Do not be defensive and argumentative with the doctor. If you behave in such a manner, it is likely that the doctor will note such behavior and, when later testifying, will comment regarding such behavior. This would make you look bad in front of the jury. Do not think of what the best response is to a doctor's question or what the doctor is "really after. Tell the doctor exactly what does or did bother you. While it is important not to make up or exaggerate symptoms, it is just as important to inform the doctor of your true complaints.
Because the doctor is likely to summarize the history that you reveal to him in his report, it is vital that you communicate what your actual problems are or were. If you fail to mention a problem, the insurance company will use the doctor's report to contradict you if you later claim that this problem resulted from the event that injured you. Please review your medical history before the appointment so that you can accurately relate it to the doctor.
You are not there to become more injured. A good defense attorney feasts upon clients who exaggerate. Doctors are aware of the pain patterns which individuals should exhibit for certain injuries and will make notations if your responses are exaggerated or inappropriate. For this reason, it is most important for you to be honest with the doctor, and to honestly describe the problems which you are experiencing without exaggeration.
Review your medical history before the appointment and, if asked, make sure you reveal your complete history. You will probably be questioned about your medical history, which should include all past medical problems, illnesses and injuries. If your medical history includes a matter that is relevant to your current injuries and you do not, when asked by the doctor, reveal it, the failure will most likely have a negative effect on your case.
If your medical history is very significant for example, you had an operation on a body part you injured in this case and you attempt to mislead the doctor about it, you may lose your case. Like your previous medical history, the failure to respond to a doctor's questions regarding other accidents or injuries could provide opposing counsel with strong ammunition during trial. Do not discuss how the event that injured you took place other than to describe the mechanics of your injury.
If you were in a car crash, you may tell the doctor what happened to you inside the car at the time of the crash. But you should not discuss how or why the crash took place. If you slipped and fell, you may tell the doctor what part of your body struck the ground and what surface the ground was, but you should not discuss the reason s why you fell. Similarly, you should never discuss how much you believe your case is worth or whether or not you want to settle your case. If you can accomplish this discreetly , wear a watch to the defense medical exam and note the amount of time that the doctor spends with you.
Preparation for a Defense Medical Exam (DME), MAJ Trial Reporter (Spring 2017)
Then record this amount of time after you have left the doctor's office. If there are any brochures about the doctor or his practice, collect them and get them to me. These brochures may indicate, for example, that the doctor is not the person in his practice who treats the type of injuries your client suffered. While less important in the internet era, these materials can still provide useful information.
Success Stories Testimonials Possible Outcomes. Topic Index Alphabetical Index. Help when you need it. Who Requests an IME? Your doctor this could be a problem. Why Is It Being Scheduled? What If I Need to Reschedule? Contact your claims adjuster immediately and request a different date. Your friend or relative can attend your medical exam, but not your psychiatric exam. This observer can see and take note of anything the IME doctors do which may not be appropriate. They can also note how much time was spent examining you versus how much time was spent reading your records.
Refrain from taking pain medication or anti-inflammatory medication prior to the examination, if allowed by your physician. This will enable the examiners to objectively view your problems. What Happens at the Examination? These physicians are not your treating physicians! These examinations are not designed to assist injured workers with their claims! Some of the physicians actually watch you from the minute you leave your car until you return and drive away. Independent Medical Examination doctors can be tricky so keep the following in mind: Light touch to any area should not hurt Do not exaggerate or fake your injuries.
Many IME doctors want you to exaggerate your injuries so they can say that in their report.