If you’ve been injured in an accident in Florida that was not your fault, the insurance company of the parties responsible for your injuries are going to do everything they can to pay as little as possible to settle your case. That’s why it’s so important to hire an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights and look out for your interests.
There are many tactics the insurance companies use to get out of taking full responsibility for the negligent actions of their policyholders. One of the most common is to request the injured party undergo a Compulsory Medical Examination (CME). The purpose of the CME is to gather information that could weaken your case.
If you are the plaintiff in a Florida personal injury lawsuit, the defendant’s insurance company will probably request that you undergo a CME by a physician hired by the insurance company to confirm that your injuries are as severe as you claim.
Rule 1.360 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure gives them the right to request that you submit to an examination by a qualified expert “when the condition that is the subject of the requested examination is in controversy”. However, they must show that there is good cause to call for the medical examination.
If you refuse to comply, the insurance company can refuse to pay your claim and move to have your lawsuit dismissed.
Florida CME Guidelines
To protect plaintiffs from abuse, Florida courts have established the following guidelines regarding CMEs:
1. Requesting a Compulsory Medical Examination
Requests for an examination must be in writing and set forth the time, place, manner, conditions, and scope of the examination as well as the name and qualifications of the person conducting the examination, all with reasonable specificity.
2. Agreeing on a CME Date
The date and time of the examination must be coordinated with the opposing counsel/party. If they are unable to decide on a date for the examination that falls within 60 days of the request, the Court may select the date.
3. Persons Who May be Present during your CME
A plaintiff’s counsel (or their representative), a videographer, a court reporter, and an interpreter may be present during the examination. If the plaintiff is a minor, a parent or guardian may also attend the examination.
The recordings made during the exam are the property of the legal representative of the person being examined and are not discoverable without further order of the court.
4. Limitations on the CME
The scope of the examination is limited to non-invasive procedures unless the Court orders otherwise, and can be further limited to include only the procedures listed in the “Request for Examination” and/or Order allowing the examination.
5. Waiting Times for a CME
The person being examined should arrive no later than 15 minutes before the start time of the examination. Examinations that have been scheduled for a specific time are required to commence within 30 minutes of that time. If the person who was to be examined has not been called in for the examination after having waited for 30 minutes from the scheduled start time of the examination, they are then free to leave the examiner’s office.
Protect Your Rights during a Compulsory Medical Examination
Don’t make the mistake of assuming the insurance company’s doctor will be making an honest, impartial assessment of your injuries. Since they work for the insurance company, these doctors have a tendency to use the results of a CME to minimize or dismiss the injuries suffered by the plaintiff.
You may not be able to avoid an insurance company’s CME, but there are steps you can take to avoid making the kinds of mistakes that could jeopardize your case:
- Review your medical record so you can be prepared to answer any questions the examiner may have.
- Be honest about your injuries and how they are affecting your life, don’t exaggerate or lie.
- In a CME, there is no doctor/patient relationship, so the rules pertaining to doctor/patient confidentiality don’t apply. The doctor is going to share all the information from the CME with the defendant, the insurance company and the Courts. Limit the scope of your responses. Don’t volunteer any information about your condition that the doctor does not specifically ask for.
- Don’t answer any questions that don’t concern your injuries.
- Don’t discuss the details of your accident.
- Don’t accept any fault for your injuries.
- Listen to the advice of your attorney.
Speak To a Winter Haven Personal Injury Attorney Before Agreeing to a Compulsory Medical Examination
In Florida, pursuing a personal injury case can often be a challenging undertaking. Having the right lawyer represent you is key to maximizing the settlement you receive from the insurance company. Winter Haven personal injury attorney Tania Rivas and the Rivas Law Group have successfully represented clients in Winter Haven, Lutz, Tampa, Lakeland, Orlando and other Central Florida communities who have been injured through no fault of their own. Tania is dedicated to protecting the rights of her clients and won’t give up until you obtain the total compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contact the Rivas Law Group to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your personal injury case.