How to Prepare for Your Defense Medical Examination (Part Two)
Remember Why You're ThereRemember that the defendant's insurance company has hired this doctor to examine you. If your case is not settled, this doctor will be testifying against you. Therefore, be polite and cooperative. You have been scheduled to see one specific doctor for one specific examination. Do not consent to another doctor.
Be aware that you are being watched at all times. The doctor, or the office staff, will watch how you get out of your car, how you walk into the office, how you get onto and off of the examination table, what kind of shoes you are wearing, how you sit, how you open the door, how you move your head, etc.
Remember How to AnswerYou will be asked questions about how the incident happened, how you were injured, whether you had any similar injuries before this one or after this one, and what your current complaints are. Answer only the questions the doctor or the assistant asks. Do not volunteer information. The doctor is not there to help you, so if you are asked questions that are "unfair" and you respond to them, or if you provide additional information that was not asked for, it will only hurt you later.
When asked to do so, give only the facts relating to the forces of impact and your body motion during and after the event by telling the doctor what happened. Do not try to recreate the event for the doctor through movements of your body, etc.
Don't Let Them Bully YouDo not allow the doctor to tape record the examination unless your lawyer has arranged for and observer to be present with you. This observer will record the examination. The observer is a person, usually a chiropractor or a nurse, trained to observe and report on the thoroughness of the exam. If the observer tape records the examination, the doctor can do so, too.
Do not fill out or sign any forms. Any information the doctor needs will come by your answers to interrogatories, your statement or deposition. In addition, the defense attorney may give the doctor some information. You will be required to give your full name, date of birth, current home address, your driver's license number and Social Security number. Do not give your phone number, medical insurance information or employment history.
Stay On TopicThe doctor will have reviewed your medical records. These records will contain things you may have forgotten. However, you will want to be as truthful as possible, of course. Therefore, answer any questions simply and truthfully. If you do not recall something, say so. However, do not rely on a "convenient lack of memory" in an effort to correct something later. Something as traumatic as a prior injury that caused you to see another doctor is not something that you should easily forget. Additionally, problems with the same part of your body that was injured in this incident should be recalled for the defense medical examiner.
Tell the doctor when you are experiencing pain on any movement, even if you are not asked. The doctor may not ask you about your pain on movement.
As you go through the examination, the doctor will ask you to move your head, arms, etc. Move only until you experience pain and then tell the doctor you can't go any further without pain.
Above All, Be TruthfulDo not generalize. Specify exactly where you are experiencing pain or discomfort. For instance, do not simply say "my leg hurts," but give more details, such as "the lower inside of my calf hurts." Be prepared to describe the pain. Words such as "shooting" or "knife-like" or "burning" frequently are accurate descriptions of the pain.
One cannot emphasize strongly enough your lawyer's desire for you to be truthful. The doctor will try to distract you by talking, etc., while doing the tests so you forget to express your pain. This is a technique to determine if you are faking or exaggerating your pain. If you are caught trying to exaggerate on this, your case will be worth considerably less than if you had simply told the truth and not tried to convince the doctor of your injuries by stretching things a little bit.
Ask Two QuestionsAt what appears to be the conclusion of the exam, and while the tape recorder is still going, ask the doctor two questions: One, "Doctor, what is wrong with me?" and Two, "Doctor, what can be done to help me?" This is very important to your case, so we hope you will remember to ask these questions at the appropriate time.
Tell Your Lawyer How It WentFinally, before you forget this unpleasant experience, take a few moments and write down what happened. Tell it in your own words in diary form, starting with the time you left to go to the doctor, how long you waited, what the doctor did or said, how long the visit lasted, etc. Here are some other things to think about:
o Did the doctor do anything that hurt you during the exam?
o Did the doctor say anything that offended you or struck you as "funny" or inappropriate?
o Did the doctor say what was wrong with you?
o Did the doctor say you needed more treatment?
o Did you hurt after the exam?
Send your lawyer a copy of your "diary" of the day. They will be able to ask you questions about this exam if the matter goes to trial or arbitration, and your diary will be a good refresher as to what you went through.