A compulsory medical examination (CME) is an examination conducted by an insurance carrier’s physician that a company uses to defend an injury in a lawsuit. Under Florida Rules of Civil Procedure 1.360, a defendant (the insurance company) is allowed to ask the plaintiff to undergo a medical examination by the doctor of the defendant’s choice.
The insurance company can ask for a compulsory medical examination (CME) under certain circumstances by claiming that:
- The condition you are claiming is being disputed.
- It wants proof of an accident victim’s injuries.
- It believes you are lying about or exaggerating the extent of your injury.
The insurance company may be required to show it has good reason to make the request before it is granted and potentially show this evidence in the courtroom. As the plaintiff in a personal injury case, you must undergo a requested CME to prove your injuries are legitimate and not exaggerated. You must show the injuries require medical care and that you have suffered damages or losses as a result.
Since the physicians who conduct these examinations are employed by the insurance company and want to minimize your injuries and find weaknesses in your case, you may choose to consult a personal injury attorney to prepare you before undergoing the physical examination. Your attorney will be aware of the tactics insurance companies use to pay out as little as possible and can help you with techniques you can use to combat them.
How to Handle Your Compulsory Medical Examination (CME)
Some of the steps you can take before the CME can include:
- Maintaining a serious demeanor during your medical examination. Avoid talking with and joking with the CME physician. Remember, the physician is not there to help you. They are there to help the insurance company. You should also keep in mind that this consultation is not private. Patient-doctor confidentiality does not apply to this visit.
- Make an appointment with your physician on the same day as your CME. Your treating physician will have information on your injuries that will help your case and can serve as counterevidence to any findings the CME doctor uncovers. Patient-doctor confidentiality applies to this meeting since you are speaking with your own doctor.
- Videotape both examinations. Evidence of this kind can prove you have the wounds and injuries you are claiming and that the CME physician may not be examining you properly or may be ignoring legitimate complaints if they deem you physically unharmed.
- Answer questions clearly and truthfully. Make sure you understand what the CME physician is asking you before you answer. You can always ask for clarification before giving your answers. However, do not volunteer any information that you are not specifically asked for.
- Politely stand up for yourself when necessary. Do not let the CME doctor put words in your mouth.
- Be aware. Take note of the time that the CME doctor actually examined you.
You should tell the CME physician about your injuries and the pains you are experiencing. Aim for accuracy and facts and be ready to answer any question based on the answers you give.
What to Expect During a CME Exam
Before your exam starts, the CME physician has likely reviewed your treatment records before they meet with you. Still, they may ask you questions about the medical treatment you have received, including any surgeries or other procedures you’ve had. They could ask you about your behavioral health history, including if you have a history of substance use disorders or mental health disorders.
Your exam will likely consist of an oral part and a physical examination part. The physician will speak with you about your injuries and take notes during the meeting. They will also likely observe your demeanor in this meeting and note that as well.
After some conversation, the CME doctor will examine you, noting your symptoms and other observations they make. The entire meeting can last about an hour.
Your Personal Injury Attorney Can Guide You Through a CME Process
You can contact your personal injury lawyer after the examination to discuss what happened and any concerns you may have.
You can also ask them beforehand how to prepare for a CME. It is understandable if you are nervous about your meeting. Your injury attorney can make requests to ensure the CME is handled properly. They should respond to the opposing counsel’s CME request and either accept or reject it.
If they reject it, they must state why. If the court requests a meeting after the rejection, your lawyer should be ready to explain why they objected on your behalf.
Rejecting a CME request should be weighed carefully. It is always possible that a defendant’s insurer can dismiss your injury claim if you do not undergo a CME as requested. Your injury lawyer is likely aware of this, so they should be able to advise you on your next steps.
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Conditions That Could Prompt a CME Evaluation Request
Any of the conditions and injuries below could lead to a CME evaluation request:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Spinal cord injury (SCI)
- Nerve damage
- Internal organ damage
- Internal bleeding
- Fractured bones
These are just a few injuries that could lead an insurance company or insurance defense attorney to ask for a CME. Each case is unique, so it is possible that you could get a CME evaluation for other kinds of injuries.
Get Help from the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine
If you are involved in a dispute with an insurance company that requests you attend a compulsory medical examination (CME), you may choose to speak to a personal injury attorney to help you before you undergo the examination. We are familiar with this procedure and can offer guidance for your specific situation.
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine today for a free consultation to help you get the benefits to which you may be entitled. We offer responsive legal care to all our clients, and we will work diligently to get you the compensation you need.
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