Florida like most states permits the defendant in a personal injury claim to force the plaintiff (claimant) to undergo a physical and sometimes even a psychological examination. Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.360 is the rule that provides the guidelines as to how the examination is supposed to take place. The examinations are commonly referred to a “Independent Medical Examinations” but there is usually very little that is independent about them. Instead they are usually unpleasant and invasive examinations conducted by doctors that are highly paid and trained to limit the claims of the injured.
The first step is that there has to be a formal request made identifying when, how and where the examination is going to take place. The person conducting the examination is required to be a qualified expert in the condition or injury that is in question. So a gynecologist is not permitted to do an orthopedic examination.
The examination can take place without the Court’s permission provided that the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of the examination is reasonable and acceptable.
As a bicycle accident lawyer in Florida I have handled cases where the condition in controversy is not physical, such as a traumatic brain injury or emotional trauma. These types of conditions may require a complex examination performed by a neuropsychologist, psychiatrist and neurologist.
When a child is injured in Florida a parent or guardian is permitted to attend the examination unless it can be shown to the court that the parent’s presence will interfere with the results.
The defense is usually very careful about who they hire to perform these types of examinations on their behalf and often choose from a very select list of experienced, defense oriented and highly paid professional witnesses. They are purposely selecting examiners who will be able to convince a jury that a persons claimed injuries are either frivolous or unrelated to the accident at issue.
Once the examination is complete a report of the findings has to be provided to the plaintiff’s attorney. Either party is then free to call the examiner as a witness to their case at trial.
Today we will be attending the examination of a client we represent who was injured in a car accident near Ft. Myers, Florida. The examination will take place in West Palm Beach, Florida and we have requested the court to impose certain limitations as to how the examination will take place. We always insists that an attorney from our office attend the examination and videotape the actual examination, to make sure it is conducted appropriately. In anticipation of the examination we see protection from the court and obtain an order that puts both the examining doctor and the defense lawyers on notice of our attendance. To read a copy of our Order Agreed Order as to Compulsory Medical Examinations-9976.pdf
As a lawyer in Miami who helps those injured in a car or truck accident we also do everything possible to make sure our clients have the greatest opportunity to successfully obtain compensation for their injuries. It is very important to carefully control the defense examination process and never allow our clients to be left alone in a compulsory examination.
RULE 1.360. EXAMINATION OF PERSONS
(a) Request; Scope.
(1) A party may request any other party to submit to, or to produce a person in that other party’s custody or legal control for, examination by a qualified expert when the condition that is the subject of the requested examination is in controversy.