Independent Medical Examinations
In very limited circumstances, if you are involved in an accident, the insurance company or the defense lawyer may request that you undergo an “independent medical examination”. Needless to say, there is nothing independent about these examinations and, in many ways, they are a total mockery of the doctor/patient relationship.
Why do they want an Independent Medical Exam?
The insurance companies want you examined by their doctor to evaluate the extent of your injuries and oftentimes to determine what injury was caused by the crash, as opposed to a pre-existing condition that the victim had before the automobile accident.
Why they are not Independent
The main reason that the so-called independent medical examinations are truly a defense medical exam is the defense lawyer, or insurance company, gets to hand-pick whatever doctor they choose to examine you. I am sure it’s not hard to believe but many times insurance defense lawyers or insurance companies pick doctors that have a bias in their favor. In particular, they often pick doctors over and over again and thus have a pretty clear notion of what the doctor will say and what the doctor will find. The doctors love the extra cash they make.
For example, there are some doctors that will testify that a muscle injury caused by an automobile collision, such as whiplash, can last longer than 6-10 weeks. Of course, this is nonsense and I have seen so many cases where people have lifelong injuries from whiplash that it breaks my heart. However, the defense and insurance companies will get these doctors to tell the jury that nobody has long-lasting muscle injuries.
There is now a doctor, who had been doing defense and insurance medicals out of Columbus, Ohio and making millions of dollars doing so. He is now opening shops in Toledo, Cleveland and possibly Cincinnati to do even more defense insurance medical exams and to make even more money. We hope that the juries can see through this sort of flim-flam, where the same doctor does report after report for the same defense lawyers.
A Fairer Approach
For attorney Charles Contrada, who has handled thousands of cases over 35 years, he believes a fairer approach would be to independently pick doctors off of a list of physicians who actually treat patients with injuries and have them examine the injured person. In that way, these would be truly independent examinations and the insurance company could not hand-pick the doctor ahead of time. If the doctors were randomly picked and they had biases, either for or against certain types of injuries, it would at least be the luck of the draw and not a foregone conclusion that the entire exam would be used against the victim.
How to Prepare for an Independent Medical Exam
It is important to time the different portions of an exam. Sometimes there is a period where you have to answer written questions. Be careful not to answer them if you do not understand them. Second, there is usually a period of question and answer by the doctor.Third, there is a physical examination. It has been our experience that most of the exams are quite short.
If you have been involved in a car accident, contacting a personal injury attorney as soon as possible will make the claim process much easier. Attorney Charles V. Contrada will explain your legal options, guide you through the process and assist you in dealing with insurance companies and Independent Medical Exams.
To speak to attorney Charles V. Contrada about a car accident in Ohio or Michigan, call (419) 841-4400. Charles has helped thousands of individuals with car accident claims and will explain the legal options that are available to you. Call Contrada & Associates for comprehensive legal guidance that will help you to receive the most favorable outcome.