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Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie, Inc.

In a personal injury case, does the other side get to have me examined by a doctor of their choosing?

Before you file a complaint, the other side has no right to an examination.  They can request one, but not order one.  Therefore it is important to settle you case if you can through the help of an accident attorney.  Once you file a complaint however, the defendant can have you examined once by a doctor of their Choosing.  Here are the general rules and issues that arise.
 
Usually the medical examination is conducted by a specialist in the area of the injury you've sustained.  However, there are very few restrictions of the doctor they choose.  
 
The doctor may not conduct any invasive examination techniques, nor may they draw blood, nor subject you to X-rays.

Additionally, it is advisable if you are not represented by an attorney, to make a tape recording of the examination that is conducted.  An audio tape recording is allowed by statute and a good practice because sometimes defense medical examiners put words in your mouth, or may even misstate the truth of your comments or claims. 
 
The best way to help yourself in a medical examination, in a personal injury case is to be honest and forthright with answers to questions but do not volunteer.  Answer only what you are being asked about your medical condition.  Additionally, during the examination be sure to verbalize, not just grimace, when you're having pain or symptoms during the examination. When you don't say that it hurts, a doctor can ignore your grimace, or may not notice it.  However, a truthful doctor can not ignore your statement that that hurts.  Describe the pain’s intensity.  Say for instance that it hurts a little or that hurts a lot, or that hurts so much I can't do it.
 
Frequently doctors will also give examination testing designed to elicit a false response.  For instance, the doctor may ask you to do some physical movement that should not cause you pain, and when you complain that it hurts, they write in their report that you are faking your injury.  Therefore, it's always important to be honest about what does and what does not hurt you.  There is no reason to exaggerate your symptoms, but you should, by all means, not try to understate your symptoms either.
 
Finally, after the examination, you are entitled to a copy of the report of the doctor.  Don't be surprised however if the doctor advocates against you, no matter what your claim is.  Unfortunately, in the reality of personal injury litigation, defense medical examinations are nothing more than an exercise in futility with very little true acknowledgement of injury and damages being given.  These doctors, for a fee, will advocate against your case and find all the reasons why it is that the defense should not pay your claim.  Otherwise, the defense attorney would not be doing his alleged job, which is to defeat your claim.  
 
If you've been involved in an accident, and you are in litigation, you really should not be without legal representation from a competent auto accident or personal injury attorney.  The defense medical examination is used to defeat your case, without you having an opportunity to be heard.  
 
If you find yourself in need of help, call us with your questions at 1-866-981-5596 or contact us through the web.

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