Here are a few tips to help assure that you are properly prepared for a defense medical examination.
- The exam begins when you drive into the parking lot. You may be watched getting out of your car and walking into the office.
- Describe the accident in a general way. (i.e., I was rear ended).
- Be prepared to describe what happened to your body at the time of impact. The movement of your body is important for the connection of the impact and your body.
- Describe injuries that are consistent with what you told your treating doctors and what your treating doctors have related to the accident.
- Describe your pain by frequency and intensity. How often do you experience pain. (i.e. daily; 2-3 times a week). How intense is the pain. Most doctors will ask you based on a 0-10 pain scale. Describe the intensity with how your treating doctor is characterizing your pain level:
Note your pain may generally be mild or moderate but may become severe with activity.
- Describe your limitations. This includes both your limitations(s) in physical movement (i.e. lifting/bending/sitting/standing/sleeping) and limitation to engage in activity (i.e. work/sports/daily living activities).
- Don’t try to convince the defense doctor. The defense doctor will likely conclude your pain is not related to the accident.
- Avoid absolutes such as never or always.
- Watch out for the doctor’s antics. Often a defense doctor will try to suggest you are exaggerating or making up pain complaints. For example, the doctor may lightly touch the injured area hoping you will winch in pain. Often the appropriate answer would be to say that is the place I have pain but that light touch did not hurt me.
This is not at all a comprehensive list. It is best to consult with your legal counsel to ensure that you are fully prepared for a defense medical examination.