Will I need to have an independent medical examination?
For personal injury claims to be successful, a solicitor must demonstrate the liability of the defendant and the injuries sustained by their client. To do this, your solicitor is likely to arrange an independent medical examination which will provide a thorough review of your condition, the severity of symptoms and impact on your ability to carry out normal tasks.
The medical examination seeks to support your claim and offer impartial proof to the defendant’s legal team as to the confirmation of your symptoms and impact on life. Using the review of the medical examination, your solicitor is then in a strong position to begin negotiating a settlement figure on your behalf. Medical examinations are carried out at no cost to you and serve to strengthen your ability to achieve the maximum amount of compensation possible for your claim. The following guide offers information on what to expect during and after a compensation claim medical assessment.
Why do I need a medical examination?
An independent medical examination is carried out in order to prove the injuries that you have sustained and the symptoms that you are suffering. The defendant’s legal team will require this proof before compensation is paid, as the examination will also highlight any discrepancies in the claim. The examination is an excellent opportunity for you to receive a further review of your symptoms and if necessary, advice on further tests or treatment to help your recover.
Many claimants will have previously seen their GP or received hospital treatment and so question the necessity of further medical examinations. It is important to recognise that the examination that is arranged by your solicitor is independent and therefore fully reliable so far as the defendant’s team are concerned.
What will happen in the medical examination?
The aim of the medical examination is to determine that you are suffering from the injury, illness or symptoms that you are claiming for. In order to offer reliable proof, the medical examiner will specifically look to confirm the severity of your symptoms and how they have impacted on your life.
Your solicitor will arrange the examination with an independent expert, normally one who specialises in the field of medicine relevant to the injury or illness for which you are claiming. The medical examiner will thoroughly assess your case and symptoms to provide their expert opinion. During the examination, the following steps will be taken:
- The medical examiner will likely obtain a copy of your medical records from your GP. This will allow the examiner to construct a thorough understanding of your condition and review the treatment that you have received to date.
- The medical expert may make additional notes and suggestions for future treatment based on the examination.
- The medical examiner will ask you to explain the events that led to your claim. In this explanation, the examiner will seek to understand the impact that your symptoms have on your life. It is important to offer an honest account and not exaggerate or minimise the severity of your condition.
- Following the examination, the medical expert will assess whether your symptoms are consistent with the accident or incident that gave rise to the claim.
- The medical examiner will also analyse the patient’s medical records to determine whether any pre-existing medical conditions have been aggravated or worsened because of the accident. Should the client be claiming on this basis, the examiner will seek to confirm that the medical records show that the pre-existing condition was continuous and that there is no ambiguity as to whether a full recovery had been made prior to the accident.
- Having completed a thorough assessment, the doctor will compile a report that confirms the findings, prognosis and advice for future treatment or tests.
The examination will last from 20 minutes up to one hour depending on the number of symptoms you have and the severity of your condition. Chaperones and same-sex examiners will be made available if you require and request them.
What happens after the medical examination?
Once the medical examiner has completed their assessment of your condition, they will create a report that is sent back to your solicitor. The report is a strong piece of evidence and confirms the severity of your injury as well as the treatment needed and the overall prognosis for your recovery.
The solicitor will review the medical examiner’s analysis against the rest of the case information and will be in an ideal position to offer realistic outcomes based on their experience and knowledge. The solicitor will then initiate contact with the defendant’s legal team to begin negotiating the best compensation award possible on your behalf.
You are entitled to a copy of the medical report for your reference, and a copy will be added to your medical records for review by your doctor and any other related medical practitioners.