So, your CME is coming up. CME stands for Compulsory Medical Examination. It used to be called an Independent Medical Examination, but the courts have come to the conclusion that it’s not actually independent, it is in fact a defense physical.
So what is a CME? It is a physical examination of you by a physician who is hired by the defense, in my opinion, is often skewed in favor of the defense. Still, there are 5 things that you ought to know about your CME.
- You should be polite when you go in and speak to the doctor. Even though this is an adversarial proceeding – in other words, the doctor’s working for the defense – you should still be polite. You want to make a nice impression.
- Be honest – if something hurts, say it hurts. If something doesn’t hurt, then say it doesn’t hurt. It’s important not to exaggerate either too high or too low. In other words, claiming that something is painful when its not and claiming that something is not painful when it is. Be as honest as you can. Honesty also has to do with what your past medical history is. For example, if the doctor asks you “have you ever been to a chiropractor before?” answer honestly. If you don’t remember or you’re not sure, say you’re not sure. We will have a court reporter there taking down every word, so if you say you’re not sure, that’s what we’ll be recording.
- Don’t discuss the small details of the accident or the injury with the doctor. It is important for you to tell him how you were injured, but you don’t have to get into who said what – that’s not relevant for his examination. Instead, talk about your physical condition and the physical mechanism by which you got hurt. In other words, if you were rear-ended, say you were rear-ended. The doctor needs to know that because he is looking for whiplash type injuries. If you say you tripped and fell, tell him I tripped. What did you trip on? Just tell him, be honest – everybody already knows and there is a very good chance that the doctor already has all of your medical records. In fact, he may be asking you questions just to see if your being consistent with what’s in the records.
- Remember that this is an adversarial proceeding so don’t volunteer information that you don’t need to volunteer.
- Don’t worry about this. CME’s are done in every personal injury case. It’s nothing personal about your case – they’re done all the time. They are a routine part of personal injury litigation. So, you go in, be polite, be honest, tell the doctor what hurts, tell the doctor what doesn’t hurt, and do your best to be fully transparent.