Burlingame, CA Personal Injury Blog

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Defense Medical Exam - What to expect

 Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Helping Victims with Independent Medical Exams in Burlingame and San Francisco Bay

At Shapiro Legal Group we litigate cases.  This usually occurs after attempts are made at settlement.  During the course of the litigation the insurance company, who is not a party but handles the defense of the case, has the opportunity to hire a physician to examine the plaintiff.  This is not a typical doctor visit as you would have with your primary care physician or orthopedic surgeon.  This visit is for the sole purpose of litigation.  There is no physician-patient relationship formed.  The doctor works for the insurance company, is paid by the insurance company, and has the job of working against the interests of the injured person.  

When our client at Shapiro Legal Group is required to attend this exam we commonly set forth acceptable conditions in advance of the appointment.  personal injury lawyers also provide the client with a list of instructions to follow.  The visit itself is not all that different from a regular exam in that there is usually a history taken and then a physical exam.  In fact the history may be more extensive as the doctor is focused on issues of causation between the plaintiff's symptoms and the subject incident for legal purposes and not just diagnostic purposes.  In a few weeks, the doctor will produce a report detailing the findings and opinions.

As for the honesty of the physician or the veracity of the report there is a range of results.  Sometimes the report will be fair and straight forward.  Other times the report will be extremely bias.  The profit motive should never be discounted.  After all, a doctor who does not give the insurance company what they want will likely find fewer job opportunities with that company. 

In short, the defense medical exam, often mischaracterized as an independent medical exam, is a litigation event like no other and a doctor's appointment like no other.  If you have a question about such exams please feel free to call Shapiro Legal Group for more information.

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