Defense Doctors: Who Are They in Personal Injury Cases?
A victim’s rights post-accident should always favor the maximum amount of compensation under the law. The lengthy process of seeing a case to the end takes the biggest toll on the client. After so much pain and suffering, another medical examination can be extremely stressful. Clients at the “mercy of” defense doctors factors into a lot of post-accident mental anguish. This Shaked Law Firm article will provide our readers with everything they need to know about defense doctors and the defense medical examination.
Shaked Law Firm’s purpose for this article is to provide facts necessary for those requiring a visit with a defense doctor. but to adequately prepare for Defense Medical Exam (“DME”) by retaining legal representation.
Who are defense doctors in Personal Injury cases?
The insurance company hires defense doctors to potentially scare a victim with serious injuries out of pursuing compensation. These defense hired doctors work for the insurance company. That, on its own, is a red flag that these professionals do not have the patients’ best interest. Receiving money to report back to the insurance company? These doctors should never be trusted with patient care! Victims’ who require a “DME” must first seek a Personal Injury lawyer with a high level of experience. After years of taking on insurance companies, a lawyer with Board Certification is a client’s best bet. When it comes to a DME that’s successful for the client, it’s important to seek representation from a law firm that has successfully seen hundreds of cases to verdict.
Insurance company doctors are never patients’ friends
It’s easy for defense hired doctors to take advantage of a victim. This doctor may act caring and considerate. They may even ask the victim leading questions that seem to imply they care about their pain and suffering. Top lawyers never let his or her client succumb this unethical practice! Clients should always be advised by their lawyers prior to litigation what they should be aware of. This means the lawyer must advise them how to answer certain questions, and what not to say.
Why do patients fear the Defense Medical Exam?
A lot of the fear of the Defense Medical Exam lies in the victim’s pain and suffering being dismissed as “not that bad”, or worse “fake”. A lawyer with compassion knows to remind the client that pain and suffering is real. Lawyers with experience fighting the insurance companies know the tactics used during the DME are not a true reflection of the pain and suffering a victim is feeling.
Often, the insurance company hires a physician to examine the patient, then testify as to whether or not the victim’s injuries are real. That’s how these doctors get the name “defense hired doctors”. The opposing side pays them a fee, and these physicians report back what the insurance company wants to hear. Furthermore, in attempt to discredit a victim with life threatening injuries, defense hired doctors usually find that the victim’s injuries are not severe! The practice of insurance companies employing defense hired doctors isn’t an ethical one. Nor is it “fair and impartial”.
Why do defense hired doctors hope patients fear the DME?
A defense medical examination, or “DME”, is common practice in Personal Injury cases. The insurance company will want to know everything about the victim and their injuries. However, with a lawyer that has extensive experience with defense hired doctors’ tactics, there is no reason to fear the DME. It’s important for the victim to adequately express pain and suffering honestly. Clients should present themselves with credibility, and without exaggeration. Honesty is always the “golden ticket” to winning a case. It’s all about credibility. An honest client is a client that tells their lawyer the truth. These clients are preferable, they belong in the “truthful” column. Clients who lie can kill their own case, and belong in the “liars” column.
Why are defense doctors discrediting Personal Injury clients?
Another unethical situation patients find themselves in may be Deny, Delay, Don’t Pay. This tactic involves continually discrediting patients by delaying, then denying a valid claim. Another tactic patients face without a lawyer on their is the insurance company attempting to convince them their injuries are not a result of their accident. Both of these tactics are meant to make the patient “go away” and stop seeking compensation.
What should clients know during a meeting with a defense doctor?
Victims fear the DME because they go in expecting the worst. Here are several helpful tips to make the DME process run smoothly:
What happens before the Defense Medical Exam, or DME?
Arrive on time. This is of utmost importance. If a client requires assistance, they should ask their lawyer to arrange transportation. Top lawyers always have a team working for them that can arrange a rideshare, or a car service to appointments. It’s in the best interest of both lawyer and client to arrive on time! All the client needs to do is ask; their lawyer is happy to work out small problems for a credible client.
A lawyer who leaves a client to fend for themselves when they request assistance is a red flag to find another law firm–ASAP. Personal Injury lawyers know a lot of clients cannot drive due to their injuries. It should never be a burden to the lawyer to assist a client in arriving on time.
Preparation is key! Preparation before any mediation or exam is key. Clients must prepare to share medical history. Defense hired doctors want to know what happened directly before, during, and after the accident. In situations where memory loss occurs, it’s important to inform the lawyer of this during DME preparation.
During the DME, a client must keep any information their lawyer advises not to share during preparation and consultation, to themselves.
There is a reason for this. Personal Injury lawyers have their clients best interest at heart. Always heed any advice given during the DME prep.
What happens during the actual DME?
Using notes is acceptable. Writing things down in preparation for the DME is acceptable! If a client cannot write due to hand injuries, a legal assistant is always happy to help the client take notes. If the client has adequate help at home, they can have a family member or spouse take notes for them. They may bring these notes to the DME, so that they don’t forget when facing a defense hired doctor.
Remain polite. Victims may feel defense doctors are out to get them, and that’s true. The insurance company employs lawyers and medical professionals to act aggressively on their behalf. The process is never fair to the client! The insurance company never wants to pay a dime! However, acting aggressive toward anyone from the insurance company’s legal team reflects poorly on both the client and their lawyer. Credibility and honesty are everything. Acting aggressively or using curse words tells the defense hired doctor the patient is hiding something. Fear is normal, but it’s important to remember the legal process moves in the clients favor, if they remain calm and credible throughout.
Who can tell a client the truth about defense doctors?
A client’s Personal Injury lawyer should be telling them the truth about defense doctors and the DME.
Insurance companies use defense doctors to bully patients out of compensation. Unfortunately, the fact is, this unethical practice is not uncommon. Defense doctors often cause mental anguish to those who sustain injuries by no fault of their own. Top Personal Injury lawyers that represent such clients see these unfair practices every day. They’re familiar with them, and therefore, they can stop them from happening.