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Law Offices of John Morelli
A Personal Injury Firm Serving All Of South Jersey

How to Handle a Defense Medical Examination

It is not "Independent"

Remember that this is an exam for the purpose of stating that you are not injured, or that if you have a condition that it is not related to your accident. If this doctor is friendly beware. Most times, these doctors are not friendly because they know who is paying their bill and they want to please the insurance company. They have a built in bias and will do whatever they can to defeat your claim. This doctor is an advocate for the insurance company.

Know your medical history

Whether you remember or not, the insurance company or defense attorney will have gotten your prior medical records as well as the medical records from this accident. They will know if you had a prior accident 20 years ago because they have access to a central data base with all claims you have ever had. Take some time to go over your medical history and what doctors you saw and for what. You should also remember and be knowledgeable about what complaints you had and when. The defense doctor is going to try to show that when you went to the emergency room for example, that you were not complaining of back pain. You should be aware of this and have reviewed your own medical records before going to the doctor.

Beware of Filling out a Questionnaire

If you are asked to fill out a form, ask for a copy of that form. Frequently a doctor will give you form to fill out detailing who you saw for your condition. This is why you have to be familiar with your medical history. When you leave the office, the staff may ask you to fill our an "exit" questionnaire with questions such as "Do you feel the doctor was thorough?" of "Did the doctor spend as much time with you as your own doctor?" You do not have to fill our exit polls and if you do, be careful of praising this doctor who will write a report to try to limit or even eliminate your claim.

Tell the truth- do not exaggerate

If you are familiar with your medical history, you must be truthful about it. You must also not hide any prior injuries or complaints. This is a trained doctor so if you try to exaggerate your symptoms, he or she can tell. Describe what is bothering you and be sure to describe it full and completely but do not over exaggerate or complain of pain that does not exist.

Be careful of the following:

Avoid absolutes, such as "I never do this . . " or "I always do this . ." Those are the types of statements that can come back to haunt you and undermine your credibility if it can be shown not to be true. Also, how you got to a particular doctor can be important. The insurance company doctor may try to get you to state that your attorney referred you to a particular doctor to show that you really were not hurt and that you only went to build a case that did not exist. Your attorney can only suggest doctors to you, but you should never go if you are not really hurt. If you did ask your attorney for a recommendation, he or she is only doing their job by helping see that you get to a qualified physician. If you had learned of the doctor through another source, give that source. This is a question that is frequently asked so be ready for it.

Bring your X-Rays, MRIs and other diagnostic studies

Let the doctor review all of these studies, but be sure to take them back or come back for them. You have nothing to hide and the doctor will get to look at them through the discovery process any way.

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