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Motor Vehicle Accident Claims: What is a Defence Medical Exam?

Previously on this blog we have written about the most common injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents (MVAs). If you have been injured in an MVA and commence legal proceedings, one of the main issues before the court will be the extent of the injuries caused by the MVA. You have the burden of proving that you sustained injuries in the MVA and that those injuries entitle you to damages. This is commonly done through your medical records, medicolegal reports prepared by your treating physicians, and sometimes expert reports. Your lawyer may retain expert healthcare practitioners to examine you and prepare a report about the extent of your injuries. Because your mental or physical condition is in issue in the action, the defendant also has a right to have you examined by a healthcare practitioner of their choice. This is often referred to as a Defence Medical Exam (DME).

At the DME, the examining healthcare practitioner will ask you questions about your mental and physical condition and your health history. It is important to be honest when answering these questions. You should make the extent of your injuries clear to the examining practitioner but be careful not to exaggerate. If the examining practitioner determines that you were exaggerating the extent of your injuries, this could damage your credibility at trial.

The examining healthcare practitioner may also conduct physical tests to assess your strength, range of motion, pain response, or functional abilities. It is important that you complete these tests to the best of your ability but not push yourself to the point of injury. If you experience pain during any of the testing, be sure to inform the tester. If the examining practitioner determines that you were feigning injury or disability during the tests or not exerting appropriate effort, this could also damage your credibility at trial.

After they have examined you, the examining healthcare practitioner will prepare a written report for the defendant’s lawyer. They must provide a copy of this report, with their findings and conclusions, to your lawyer upon request.

If you have been injured in an MVA and wish to discuss a potential claim with a lawyer, you can contact our team here.

By Iman Jomha