If you have a personal injury claim, you may receive information that the other party wants you to complete an independent medical examination. In an injury case, an independent medical examination is an opportunity for the defendant to have his or her own medical professional evaluate his injuries and prognosis.
An independent examination allows the other side to gather your own evidence about your injuries from the accident. If you are asked to complete an independent medical examination, it is essential that you understand what this means and that you work with a personal injury attorney to ensure that your rights are protected during the process.
What is an independent medical examination?
An independent medical examination is a medical evaluation. It feels a lot like going for a physical exam. It is an evaluation in which a medical professional talks with you, examines you, and makes diagnoses and judgments, as appropriate.
The examiner is a medical professional with the appropriate qualifications. They can run tests, ask questions, and draw conclusions about your injuries.
What is the purpose of an independent review?
The purpose of an independent medical examination is to provide both parties to a personal injury case an opportunity to evaluate their physical injuries. Courts want both parties to have an equal opportunity to see, evaluate, and draw conclusions about the evidence in the case.
Allowing the other party to conduct its own examination can help the parties resolve the case. The examiner can verify the injuries and request the defendant to work toward a fair resolution of the claim.
How does an independent medical examination work?
If you have an independent exam, the other party will tell you when and where to go for the exam. They will ask you questions about your accident and your medical history. It is essential that you be polite and cooperative, even if the evaluator is rude or biased.
While it sounds a lot like going to the doctor, it’s more about the other party’s goal of gathering evidence, so it’s more limited to the accident, your injuries, diagnoses, and prognosis than creating a treatment plan.
Are there limits to what they can discuss?
The examiner can talk about anything that is relevant to the case. But they should keep the exam limited to questions about their injuries and other issues that may be related to their injuries. For example, if you have a shoulder injury, they may ask you questions about whether you have had other shoulder injuries prior to your accident.
They should not change the subject by asking you questions unrelated to your sexual behavior, for example. While they have broad authority to investigate anything that might affect the value of the claim, they cannot use the independent medical examination as a way to harass or try to intimidate you into giving up your claim.
What Does Nevada Law Say About Testing?
Nevada Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 35 lists the rules that apply to independent medical evaluations in personal injury cases. The rule says that when a party’s physical condition is in question, the court can order the party to undergo an evaluation by a qualified examiner.
According to the rule, the person taking the exam must have a “proper” license or be certified for the exam they are taking. They must notify you of the time and place of the exam. They must also give you advance notice of the scope of the exam.
An independent medical examination is considered standard in most personal injury claims. The defendant must apply to the court for an order for an examination if he does not agree. However, the courts agree to order the examination in most cases.
The official report
If you have an exam in your case, you have the right to a copy of the examiner’s report. The information you receive should include details about all test results, diagnoses, and exam findings. If the examiner does not file a report, the court can prevent them from testifying if the case goes to trial.
How can an examination impact my claim?
Although it is called an independent examination, its evaluator is hired and paid by the defense. They are looking for ways to minimize your claim. While the examiner may disagree with your doctor about your injuries and the liability of the other party, there are things you can do to defend yourself if the exam contains errors or inaccuracies.
Your injury attorney can help you verify the qualifications of the person conducting the exam. They may not be specialists or have training comparable to that of your own medical team. Your attorney can also help you verify if the doctor has any records of professional discipline that could call into question her qualifications or integrity.
Finally, your attorney should be prepared to point out to the jury that the doctor is not part of the team of medical professionals who are treating you. See your doctor to determine your injuries and recover. Your attorney can help you tactfully point out to the jury that the doctor on the other side has the specific job of trying to find holes in your case like a contracted weapon for the defense.
How can I prepare for my exam?
If an exam is coming up, talk to your attorney to make sure it is appropriate and warranted. If you agree to take the exam, consider bringing a friend with you. Have the friend take detailed notes on what the doctor asks and what they do. Then, if you have a disagreement with the examiner’s report, you have a witness ready to testify about what happened on your exam.
Make sure you know where your exam is and be prepared to arrive early. Your attorney can help you understand how to answer questions about how the injury occurred. Be honest and cooperative even if you think the doctor is mistreating you.
How can an attorney help?
Given that independent medical examinations are designed to uncover information to minimize your claim, having a qualified injury attorney is essential. Your attorney can help you prepare for the exam and defend against unfair or inaccurate conclusions.
Your personal injury attorney can help you understand the best way to answer questions during your examination and can help clarify the circumstances of the examination to the jury. Don’t let the other side paint the wrong picture of your injuries.