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The Turley & Mara Law Firm, APLC

Should I bring a lawyer to my Defense Base Act medical exam?

It is a good idea to bring someone with you to your Defense Base Act medical examination.

Although these appointments are referred to as “independent” medical exams, they are paid for by the DBA insurance company and you will be examined by a doctor of their choice—and the point of the exam is to find ways to deny your claim. While you must attend the appointment in order to have your benefits approved, taking an attorney with you can help your case a great deal.

What a Lawyer Does During Your Medical Exam

Your attorney can be helpful to your case even before you attend the exam. Your lawyer should look over any paperwork you have been asked to complete as part of the exam and advise you on what you should and should not bring to the appointment. He or she will also give you a rundown of what will happen during the exam and offer advice on each stage of the appointment.

The most helpful things an attorney can do during a DBA medical exam include:

Prevent You From Helping The Defense Case:

A Defense Base Act attorney should be familiar with common tactics DBA doctors use to get evidence that hurts your case. Your attorney should sit right next to you during the exam and answer any questions that are put to you. If the doctor asks leading questions or makes assumptions, your lawyer can ask the doctor to rephrase or clarify any statements he makes.

Take Detailed Notes:

It can be hard for claimants to remember everything that happens in an IME because they are focused on the physical aspects of the examination. Your attorney can do some behind-the-scenes work that can later shed light on your case, including timing each portion of the examination, setting up a tape recorder or taking a video of the entire exam, taking notes on the defense doctor's body language and the types of tests administered, and making notes to investigate the doctor’s claims later.

Intervene On Your Behalf:

Your attorney should know what is and is not permitted in an IME in California. For example, you cannot be asked to undergo any test or procedure that causes you pain. You also do not have to submit to any testing (such as an x-ray) that was not previously agreed to before the exam.

It is vital that claimants have as much information as possible in order to win compensation for their injuries. Click here to read through our free book on DBA claims, DBA Resource Guide.

William Turley
“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”

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