Did you know that Florida is home to the deadliest mile of road in all of America? No wonder thousands of Floridians each year have to file personal injury claims for car crashes and other accidents.
If you’ve started this process, you may have heard the term ‘compulsory medical examination’ mentioned. Most people who file a personal injury claim don’t have to worry about this. But sometimes when filing a personal injury lawsuit. The opposing party will request one to make sure that your injuries are as bad as you say they are.
Legal terms can be confusing, so we’re here to answer any questions you may have. Read on to find out what’s involved in a compulsory medical examination and how to cope if you have to face one.
Legal Terms: What Is a Compulsory Medical Exam?
A compulsory medical examination can be requested in a personal injury lawsuit. This is in accordance with Rule 1.360 of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. It can only be requested when “the condition of the subject is in controversy”.
Translation – the other party does not believe your account of the severity of your injuries. Or they believe that the injuries were not sustained in the way you describe and were therefore not their responsibility.
The requesting party must prove to the judge’s satisfaction that they have good cause for making the request. In fact, many cases never reach this point. Because they can settle most cases out of court. However, the opposing party may still request an examination. Plus, it’s good to prepare for this eventuality.
The opposing counsel must make their request for a medical exam no later than 70 days before the docket sounding date. This allows time for objections.
Can You Refuse a Compulsory Medical Examination?
If you hire a personal injury lawyer, they can challenge the need for a compulsory medical exam. They have to make this challenge within 30 days of receiving the written request. They can request that the opposing counsel produce evidence in court to back up their request. But refusing the request for a medical exam may not be in your best interests.
This underlines the importance of getting experienced legal help. They can advise you on the right move, which will vary from case to case.
Is It the Same as an Independent Examination?
Let’s clear up a common misconception. A compulsory medical examination is not the same as an independent examination. There is nothing independent about this process.
If you’re the plaintiff (person who brings the case) against an insurer, for example, they (the defendant) may request an examination. The defendant will choose the doctor who will conduct the examination.
This is an important point – the doctor is not court-appointed. However, it is the responsibility of the doctor to be objective and present the findings in an unbiased manner. It is debatable whether this is always the case.
Legal Requirements for the Compulsory Medical Examination
The State of Florida sets out several requirements for the compulsory medical examination. This includes:
- Both parties must coordinate the date and time of the examination
- If there’s no agreement, the court will set the date
- Examinations should occur in the county where the case is being tried
- The plaintiff’s counsel, a videographer, a court reporter, an interpreter, and if needed and parent or guardian may attend
They can ask the plaintiff to complete a patient information sheet. Which they should bring to the examination. They may also ask you to bring original medical records. As well as, diagnostic aids if the defendant requested them.
Only non-invasive procedures can take place during the compulsory medical examination. If this is not enough, the defendant will need to obtain a court order.
The medical examiner must produce a detailed written report. Both parties will receive this. The medical examiner must not offer any further evidence that is not contained in this report.
This is an overview of the basic requirements. As other legal issues can arise relating to the medical exam, get advice at every stage from your personal injury lawyer.
Preparing for a Compulsory Medical Examination
No one looks forward to a compulsory medical examination, but with good preparation, you can navigate it successfully.
Since you have a genuine claim, there is no need to worry. Be honest about your medical condition, but don’t exaggerate it. Talk about what happened and your suffering clearly and truthfully.
Throughout the examination, be polite, serious, and cooperative. Think carefully about your answers and reply in your own words.
It’s a good idea to have your attorney present during the examination. If asked to sign anything, check with your attorney first.
It might seem weird to have a videographer and court reporter present throughout the examination. But this is for your protection. You’ll have an accurate recording in video and transcript form of exactly what took place.
Should I Get My Own Exam as Well?
This might be a good idea – check with your lawyer first. If you do. Then follow the same procedures. And make sure you recorded it. Try to schedule your medical exam on the same day or as close as possible to the compulsory one.
Choose RHINO Lawyers After a Car Accident
After reading this, you might wish that compulsory medical exam was among the legal terms you don’t understand! It’s true that no one would ever want to go through this process. But with excellent legal help, you can prepare well and reduce the stress involved.
At RHINO Lawyers, our personal injury lawyers are here to help you no matter how your accident happened. They’ll help you get the compensation you deserve for the pain and suffering you’ve endured.
Why not schedule a free video consultation today to learn more about how they can help?
CONTACT A TAMPA AUTO ACCIDENT ATTORNEY
In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.
Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.