What is a Defense Medical Examination?
A Defense Medical Examination, also known as a “DME,” is a physical examation conducted of you, the injured party by a doctor of the defendant’s choosing for the purpose of helping the defendant make their case against your claim.
Sometimes this is called an Independent Medical Examination or “IME” by the defense; however, there’s actually nothing independent about the exam. This examination is unlike any exam your treating doctor would give you, where he or she is solely concerned about your health and well-being; instead, this DME doctor is working for the insurance. This doctor was strategically chosen by the defense for their own purposes and to assist them in your case.
What to bring to the examination:
Unless you are specifically asked for them, you will not need, and shouldn’t take, any documents with you other than a photo ID and all available X-Rays, CAT scans and MRI films pertaining to your injuries sustained in this accident that you may have available to you. You do not need to obtain them if you do not have them already.
What you should expect to provide the Doctor:
You should be prepared to provide the most basic explanation of how you were injured at the time of the incident, but not any details about how the event happened except the parts that are specifically related to how you were injured. They will ask questions about how you were positioned, and your body mechanics were at the time you were hurt. They will also ask you what the injury felt like and what is still bothering you presently. They should not discuss any of the legal liability in your case with you.
The doctor will also most likely run through a series of standard tests intended to determine what your limitations are.
What you are not there to do:
It is not necessary that you discuss your entire health history with the doctor. You should be truthful and forthcoming when they ask questions; however, they are there to do the forensic review of your injuries and do not need any additional information related to that that they do not specifically ask you for.
Four things to do during your DME:
- You can and should take notes as long as they do not interfere with what the doctor is doing.
- You should take note of how long the doctor is actually in the room with you
- note what tests are actually performed, and
- finally, you should also call our office as soon as you get out of the exam to provide an update.
An Excellent Resource:
At Earner & Weaver, we have working relationships with some of the best lawyers and law firms in the country. One of those is with a New York Lawyer named Andrew Finkelstein, who has an amazing video explaining some more about the DME/IME process. We highly recommend you watch his video below.
After the Examination:
The doctor will write a detailed report of the examination after you leave and provide it to the insurance company, who will provide it to us. We will share that with you at the first opportunity. You should review that report and check it for accuracy. Sometimes doctors state they did tests or obtained results that are not consistent with what occurred during the examination. If you have any questions about anything the examining doctor states, you can raise it with us or take a copy to your treating doctor and ask what it means, they are usually very open to helping.
If you have any questions ahead of your examination, please feel free to reach out and we will gladly discuss them with you.