Filing a medical malpractice lawsuit can be complicated and there are many different steps that must be taken before the case is either settled or goes to court. One of these steps is typically having to be evaluated by an independent medical examiner, which is a doctor hired by the defendant’s insurance company.
It’s important to keep in mind that an independent medical examiner’s main objective is to assist the defense in disproving your claim or minimizing the extent of your injuries. Given this fact, you should be prepared ahead of time and know what to expect before your appointment so that you don’t do anything that might hurt your case.
Here are a few suggestions:
Be concise when answering questions. When asked about your pain or symptoms, state them clearly and concisely. Rambling on may result in your saying the wrong thing by mistake, or mentioning something that may hurt your case in the long run. Keep it to the point and you will be fine.
Be polite and cooperative. There is no need to be hostile with the independent medical examiner, even though you know he is technically not on your side. Be as pleasant as you can and do as he or she asks. For example, if the doctor requests that you bend or twist, do so to the best of your ability, but don’t make a production of it.
Know your condition and don’t minimize it. Although it’s good to be concise in your answers, you should also be sure not to leave out anything important when it involves your pain and symptoms. Be specific in your list of limitations and complaints so that everything important is properly documented.
Avoid exaggeration. It may be tempting to get carried away when describing the real pain you’re experiencing, but try to keep it realistic. Going overboard may make you appear to be dishonest which can only hurt your case.
Understand the details of your claim. The medical examiner may ask you specific questions about your case, like the date of the incident, the details of what happened, or the names of doctors you have consulted with. Know this stuff ahead of time so that you’re prepared and confident.
Try not to be emotional. Certainly the experience of being a medical malpractice victim can be an emotional one, and dealing with the pain and suffering is upsetting. But try to stay as focused as possible when meeting with the medical examiner. Leaving the emotion out of it can make the visit go much more quickly and smoothly.
Be honest. Medical malpractice is a very real problem in this country, and only those cases that are legitimate should be pursued. If a medical attorney has agreed that you are, in fact, a victim, there should be no reason to lie or stretch the truth when visiting with an independent medical examiner. Doing so will only serve to hurt your case so remember to keep it honest.
These are just a few suggestions to help prepare you for this part of your case. Your medical attorney will sit down with you to discuss your concerns and answer any questions you may have before you go to the appointment. Being prepared and knowing what to expect can make a difference between a winning case or a loss.