Most Plaintiffs in personal injury cases that are in litigation are required to undergo a Compulsory or Independent medical examination also known as the CME. This is an examination that is requested by the opposing side and is done by a physician that is hired by the opposition.
The CME involves a review of records, a physical examination, face to face interview, review of test results, and conclusions. The goal of this examination is to confirm the initial injury diagnosis and determine whether such injury was due to the accident. The physician is also looking to verify that the current symptoms and findings are consistent with the diagnosis made. Lastly, they are looking to determine whether the individual is exaggerating or making up their complaints. This examining physician is not a treating physician and is also considered a hired expert for the opposition. Due to this, it is understood that there is always an element of bias involved in their conclusions.
It is important to keep in mind that by the time the plaintiff enters the examination room, the physician has already had the chance to review all treatment records and other records that were provided to him prior to the examination. The Plaintiff must be prepared for this examination and understand what could potentially be asked by the physician. Hired CME physicians are trained to look for and document potential indicators of fraud and deception during the interview portion of the examination and the availability of all these records prior to the appointment makes it easier for them to find. The physicians look for things such as verbal behavior indicators, omitting information such as prior injuries, too much information, overly specific answers, aggressive reactions to the questions, invocation of religion not to answer the questions and the use of qualifiers such as “honestly” and “truthfully”.