Independent Medical Examinations in California Personal Injury Actions
Defending Yourself When Defendant Demands Your Physical ExaminationThe statutes controlling the procedures for independent medical exams are designed to give the defense an opportunity to have someone other than the Plaintiff's own doctors examine the Plaintiff and prepare a defense for trial. These includ Cal. Code of Civil Procedure Sections 2032.010-020; 2032.210-260; 2032.310-320; 2032.410-420;2032.510-530; 2032.610-650. Thus, defendant's chosen physician is not Plaintiff's friend and a Plaintiff must attend the defense medical examination fully prepared. The plaintiff to be examined is allowed to have counsel present at the examination, and counsel may record the session. Counsel may choose the method of recording the examination, and has the option of tape recording the session, or having a court reporter present but videotaping is too invasive and not permitted. Plaintiff's counsel must be allowed to observe every phase of the examination. Counsel may designate a third-party representative to attend and record the examination.
Defense Medical Exams ContinuedAn interpreter is permitted to attend if required by Plaintiff. The court decides whether Plaintiff can have his own physician present also. Counsel for Plaintiff can terminate the exam if the physician goes beyond the scope of the exam or is abusive. Plaintiff is entitled to any written report made by the examining physician including the results of all tests made, diagnoses, prognoses, and conclusions of the examiner, and a copy of reports of all earlier examinations of the same condition of the examinee made by that or any other examiner. Plaintiff must respond to a demand for physical examination in any of the following ways: (1) the plaintiff can agree to the demand as it is set forth; (2) the plaintiff can refuse to comply with the demand, in which cases he must state the reasons for the refusal in the reply; or (3) the plaintiff can agree to comply with the demand subject to modifications and/or limitations as specified in the response. Failure to do so prejudices client.