In a personal injury lawsuit, it’s common for the defendant – whether it’s an insurer, employer, or healthcare provider – to request the patient undergo an independent medical examination. In theory, this is an unbiased exam designed to collect information on the patient’s condition; in reality, examiners often use it as an opportunity to find evidence that may help prove the patient has exaggerated the severity of their illness, injury, or disability. In this article, we look at what to expect during a personal injury medical examination and how these findings can affect settlement negotiations.
At Cardinal LifeCare Consulting, we can connect you with an independent medical specialist appropriate to your personal injury lawsuit. We may also be able to strengthen your claim by developing an objective, evidence-based life care plan outlining current and future medical needs of the patient. Contact us today at 724-487-0519 to get started.
What Is a Personal Injury Medical Examination?
When any party such as an insurer disputes the facts surrounding a patient’s illness, injury, or disability, they may request the patient undergoes a personal injury medical examination. During this examination, an independent medical specialist will evaluate the patient’s condition and determine the underlying causes of the illness, injury, or disability in question; recommend treatments; and report their findings to the parties involved in the lawsuit or insurance negotiations.
What Happens During a Personal Injury Medical Examination?
While an independent medical examination is meant to be an unbiased and independent process, many medical examiners do have a pre-existing relationship with the party that appointed them. As a result, the medical specialist may be searching for any evidence that could support their respective party’s case.
For example, if a doctor was appointed by an insurance company to act as an independent medical examiner, he or she may be look for signs the patient is exaggerating their condition, lying about their symptoms, or misrepresenting when and how the injury took place.
In some cases, the examination begins before the patient even enters the exam room. Doctors may observe the patient as they exit their vehicle in the parking lot, taking notes on how the patient moves and behaves before and after the patient arrives at the exam room. The doctor will also ask the patient questions such as:
- Do you need additional treatments or testing for your injury?
- Do you feel you are ready to return to work? Why not?
- Are you certain your injuries are the result of a work-place accident?
- Do you have any pre-existing conditions?
Doctors may employ certain techniques to distract the patient and test their range of motion. For example, the medical examiner may drop an object and observe how the patient reacts. Once the exam is concluded, the doctor will file his or her findings as part of a report sent to all parties involved in the case for review.
Life Care Planning and Expert Witness Services for Personal Injury Lawsuits
If you’re an attorney involved in a personal injury lawsuit, the team at Cardinal LifeCare Consulting will provide you with a multidisciplinary approach offering professional, clinical-based opinions regarding standards of care, merits of case, and areas of liability. Our ability to interpret, examine, and apply all relevant medically related information in a case or claim will maximize productivity by removing the burden and time constraints of doing your own extensive medical research. Contact us today at 724-487-0519 to speak to one of our certified life care planners.