What Is a Compulsory Medical Examination?
A compulsory medical examination (CME) is a tool used by insurance companies and insurance defense lawyers, often to work injury claims to their advantage. Insurance companies retain a group of doctors to examine car accident injuries, and some people claim these doctors, hired by the defense, are paid very well to minimize the severity of your injuries. Granted, insurance fraud costs insurance companies billions of dollars every year, and so they might even hire an investigator to watch and videotape you traveling from your home to work to see if you are faking your injuries.
Car insurance policies have two clauses that require different things from you as the policyholder:
- That you comply with requests by the insurance company.
- That you attend a physical exam by one of their doctors, and potentially more than once.
The whole purpose of this exam is to either deny coverage for your injuries or to reduce what they will owe you in the end.
There are two parts to the exam:
- Oral: The doctor will speak with you for about 20 minutes and make notes, not only about what your observations of your injuries are but also your conduct throughout the visit.
- Physical: The doctor will examine your injuries for about 10 minutes and record your symptoms.
If you ever have to go through this type of exam, it’s important to remember that this is not your doctor. This is someone with a bias that will try to disprove as much of your case as they can in their reports. So, it’s better to be polite but not overly friendly with them and stick with the facts when describing any pain or injuries. Make sure to be ready to accurately describe the pain, movement restrictions, daily tasks that have become more difficult, etc. You should also prepare an accurate description of your medical history.
Many lawyers recommend that you schedule a visit with your doctor on the same day as your CME, so they can compare the two reports. In some cases, your lawyer at Patterson Bray will request a video recording while the CME is going on just to prove how little they do during the exam and whether they are ignoring obvious signs of injury.