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Don Jacobs
Don Jacobs
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“Independent” medical examiners

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If you find yourself injured on the highway and decide to seek compensation for what you went through, your odds of seeing a courtroom are slim. Most cases settle. Many never even see a lawsuit. Those that do end up in a lawsuit usually settle well before trial. True, some don’t settle until the day before trial. Some insurance companies like to hang on to your money until the last possible moment. If yours does end up in a lawsuit, be prepared to encounter the “independent medical exam”. Most states have a court rule that states the person who injured you has a right to force you to see a doctor of their choosing. You have to let their chosen doctor inspect every nook and cranny of your body. The rules also allow them to get just about every medical record from your past. As you can imagine, the physician chosen by the other person’s lawyer typically disputes what your treating physicians have to say about your injuries. And their position is usually that you weren’t hurt, or weren’t hurt that bad. Often they say you didn’t need to get all the care you did and you certainly don’t have any chronic problem. If you do, they usually blame it on something other than the accident. You may be wondering how this physician can accurately be referred to as “independent”. After all, they weren’t chosen by the court. They were selected and hired by the other guy’s lawyer or more often than not by his insurance company. People who have a monetary interest in seeing you recover as little as possible. So the moniker of “independent” really doesn’t fit. Fortunately, many judges are now ruling before a trial ever starts that this type of witness can’t be referred to as “independent”. Your lawyer would be wise to ask the judge to do so in your case.