Will I Need To Do A Physical Examination For A Medical Malpractice Case?
It may not come as welcome news, but there is a good possibility that you must undergo a physical examination when pursuing a claim for medical malpractice. This issue often arises even before litigation gets underway, as Florida’s medical malpractice statute imposes certain presuit rules. A plaintiff cannot file a lawsuit until 90 days after providing notice to the physician of the intent to sue. During this time, the health care provider and insurance company have the opportunity to conduct a review of the medical malpractice allegations. The law states that the claimant shall submit to a physical examination as part of this investigation, and unreasonable failure to do so is grounds to dismiss the case.
The point of requiring a physical exam is to get an objective determination of the injuries, but it is important to understand how the findings could affect your case. Your Miami medical malpractice lawyer will support you throughout the process, though some basic tips may help.
How Physical Exams Work in Malpractice Cases: During the 90-day period in which the physician is allowed to conduct a presuit investigation, you may receive notice that you must attend a physical exam. The communication typically comes from the med mal insurance company, and the exam will be conducted by a doctor hired by the insurer.
The point of a so-called independent medical exam (IME) is to gain an objective understanding of the harm the patient suffered after mistakes with medical care. However, when the physician conducting it is being paid by the insurer, you can guess that it is not truly objective. This doctor is aligned with the insurance company, so the results of the physical exam may be very different from your medical records. When litigation moves forward, it is likely that the insurer will rely on its physician as an expert to counter the testimony you present through your own medical experts.
Tips for Getting Through the Physical Exam: The IME is not geared toward treatment, so the doctor will mainly be gathering information. There will be an assessment of your overall appearance and presentation, and you can expect questions about smoking, drug use, and possible contributing factors with a medical malpractice case. Your lawyer will prepare you with specific advice, but keep in mind the following:
- Answer the doctor’s questions directly, but do not volunteer information.
- Never speculate about some area of diagnosis or treatment. Allow your medical records to speak for themselves.
- The physician’s waiting room is not a safe or suitable spot to discuss your case. Any staff or individuals affiliated with the doctor can overhear, and information adverse to your claim could make it to the insurance company.
Trust a Florida Medical Malpractice Attorney to Guide You
It is likely that you will need to do a physical exam for a med mal claim, and our Freidin Brown, P.A. will be at your side to provide essential legal support. To learn more about our services, please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers to schedule a no-cost case analysis with a skilled medical malpractice lawyer.