Under Florida law, a defendant in a personal injury case has the right to request that the injured party undergo what is called a compulsory medical examination (CME). Sometimes these examinations are referred to as “independent” medical examinations, although they are not necessarily independent.
CMEs are requested for the purpose of verifying the plaintiff’s injuries and help the defense strategize their case. Many parties request a CME in hopes of proving the other side’s injuries are either not as severe as they claim or were the result of a pre-existing condition.
In almost every personal injury case, the defendant will request a CME. Defendants, such as insurance companies and cruise lines, are well-versed in their rights and more times than not will require the plaintiff undergo a CME before offering any settlement. Since the insurance company or defendant is paying for and selecting the doctor to perform the examination, this puts you at a disadvantage.
With the defendant paying for the CME, they will also be allowed to select the medical professional who will conduct it. After the examination is conducted, the doctor submits his or her report to the insurance company, which they will use to put together a settlement for your injuries.
Florida law requires CMEs to be scheduled at a reasonable time and place. Normally, the CME is conducted in the county where the case is being tried, but this is not always possible. If the plaintiff does not live in Florida, expecting that person to come to Florida for a CME may not be reasonable, unless the requesting party pays for the travel expenses.
The injured party has the right to object to the CME, but the objection must provide specific reasons. During the CME, you have a right to have your counsel present, as well as a videographer or interpreter, if needed. If the injured party is a minor, the parent or guardian has the right to attend the CME. Otherwise, no other individuals can be present without court approval.
As trial lawyers, one of the biggest mistakes we see plaintiffs make when going through a CME is to over-exaggerate their injuries. Keep in mind that the physicians chosen to do the CME are trained professionals who have conducted countless examinations. They will see right through any lie or exaggeration, and this will only hurt your case in the long run.
It is for this reason that we always recommend our clients be truthful and honest during their CME. If your injury is legitimate, you will not need to do anything other than show up for the CME and answer all questions asked by the medical professional regarding your condition.
One thing to keep in mind is these doctors are not your doctors. They work for the insurance company and are seeing you solely for purposes of verifying your injury. They are not there to take care of you or prescribe any treatment but only to evaluate your claim and injuries. He or she is not there to determine who was at fault for the accident and how much damages should be, so no questions should be asked regarding who caused the accident leading to your injuries. If these types of questions are asked, you are not under any obligation to answer them. The last thing you would want to happen is to make any type of statement admitting fault that will be used against you later in court. If you have any concerns about going to a CME, we recommend you first contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
FREE CONSULTATION WITH A MIAMI BOARD CERTIFIED PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY. CALL NOW (305) 441-0440
If you have suffered injury due to the negligence of others, we recommend that you consult with a board-certified civil trial lawyer. The law firm of Aronfeld Trial Lawyers has over 50 years of combined legal experience representing injured people and their families in car accidents, slip and falls, medical malpractice and claims against cruise lines. Let our years of experience work for you. Contact our law office today for a free case evaluation at 1-866-597-4529 or by email at [email protected].