If you have never had an independent medical exam before, you should know that there is nothing independent about it especially not in a personal injury case. In fact, most Providence spinal cord injury lawyers are starting to refer to them as compulsory medical exams but we will only be referring to it as an independent medical exam because it’s the most widely used term.
What is an Independent Medical Exam?
An independent medical exam in a personal injury lawsuit is a medical exam that you must go through at the request of the defendant in your case. The defendant will choose their own doctor for this procedure provided they follow the rules of discovery.
While your attorney can allow you to undergo an independent medical exam using a doctor of their choice, you just need to worry about the independent medical exam ordered by the defense. The reason why you should be worried is very simple. The defense is preparing their own key witness (their doctor) to testify that you are not hurt or that your injuries aren’t as serious as you make them out to be.
How to Handle an Independent Medical Exam
Your Providence spinal cord injury lawyer will give you advance notice when the defendant has scheduled your independent medical exam. They will also give you details about the doctor performing the exam. Your lawyer might know the doctor performing the exam as most doctors who conduct independent medical exams are repeat players in the field and your lawyer might have encountered them.
You need to realize that someone will be watching you right from the moment you enter the hospital and sometimes even the parking lot. They do this to see if you will lift any heavy objects or if you walk differently when you think no one is watching you.
The doctor will request that you fill out a form. Most of the questions in the form will address your current medical condition and your medical history. They might also ask you the same questions during your physical exam to see if there are any inconsistencies in your story.
Do not Lie
Some independent medical examination doctors have a habit of tricking plaintiffs into exaggerating their pain or lying about it. The best thing for you to do is to describe your pain exactly as you feel it. For instance, if you feel pain in your back while bending down to pick things up, don’t exaggerate and say that you feel pain even when you are simply standing up. Describe your pain as you feel it.
Don’t Socialize With the Doctor
This is another trick the doctor will use to try to get information from you. You should know that any information you give them will be relayed to the defense attorney. Avoid oversharing information with them and don’t forget why you are there in the first place.
Don’t be tempted to fill out any feedback questionnaires from the doctor. Any information you fill out in the form will be used against you. For instance, if you give the doctor a negative review, he might characterize you as hostile or bitter, to imply that you did not fully corporate with him during the medical exam because you disliked him.
The Independent Medical Exam Report
Your Providence spinal cord injury lawyer will receive a written report from the doctor about your independent medical exam within a month or so after the exam. Ask your lawyer to give you a copy of the report so that you can pinpoint any errors or inconsistencies. The doctor will try to downplay your injuries as much as possible. This is expected but you should only be concerned with the facts of your injuries, not what the doctor thinks. Let your lawyer handle the doctor’s opinions in court.
You should know that independent medical exams for psychological issues are very different from those of physical issues. They are usually way more extensive and take a much longer time.
Regardless of the type of independent medical exam you will be undergoing, always remember to be honest about your condition. Don’t give the defense lawyer an opportunity to hurt your case by exaggerating your condition.
If you need help with your spinal cord injury case, you can contact one of our Kevin P Landry Law offices spinal cord lawyer for a free initial consultation. Simply dial 401-751-0101 or visit our offices today.