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Defense Base Act Independent Medical Examinations | DBA Insurance Company Medical Exams

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An Independent Medical Examination - Defense Base Act

“Brutal, frank, truth - no matter what - even if it isn’t what you want to hear. I give it to you straight. No sugar added.  No lawyer talk, no double talk. Just  old fashioned, unsweetened truth." Defense Base Act Lawyer - Bill Turley

When you bring a Defense Base Act case, you are going to have to be examined by the DBA insurance company doctor. In this article, I answer the following questions and more: 

What is a Defense Base Act Independent Medical Examination (IME)?
Do I have to cooperate with the DBA insurance company doctor?
Do I have to attend multiple Defense Medical Examinations?
What is the DBA insurance company doctor's role?
Do I have to be careful about what I say to the defense doctor?
Do I have to be nice and polite to the DBA insurance company doctor?
Will the insurance company doctor have all of medical records?
What tricks and traps does the insurance company doctor have up their sleeve?
What if the insurance company gives the defense doctor videotapes of me?
Who has to pay for the travel costs of me going to the DBA insurance company doctor examination?
What if the DBA insurance company doctor is lying about my medical condition?

What is a Defense Base Act Independent Medical Examination (IME)?

I firmly believe what you call something is important. This is why I tell the folks at my office to not use the phrase, “Independent Medical Examination.”  Or even Defense Base Act IME's. 

What I am talking about, of course, is a Defense Base Act insurance company medical examination.  Or what some call "IME." 

Under the Defense Base Act, the insurance company will usually schedule a medical examination for you to attend. There is usually nothing “independent” about the DBA insurance company chosen doctor.  This isn’t always the case, but it's usually the case. That is why I call it what it is:  a "Defense Medical Examination" or a "DBA insurance company medical examination."  Because that's what it is.

There is nothing "independent" about a doctor that examines overseas civilian contractors for the DBA insurance company are time after time they just happen to have the opinions that help the insurance company and destroy good people's lives. They get paid good money each year to screw people like you.

With that in mind here are a few tips on getting through the “DBA insurance company medical examination"

Do I have to cooperate with the DBA insurance company doctor? 

The DBA insurance company is paying this doctor to examine you. You are required to cooperate in the examination. You don’t want to sit in court and have the doctor tell the judge about how you did not cooperate.

You must be polite, cooperative, and nice to the doctor. Do not have any type of attitude with the doctor. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar; it is the same with this doctor. Again, you don’t want to sit in court and have this doctor testify that you were a jerk during the examination.

But know this: everything you say to the doctor can and will be used against you in a court of law. Depend on it.

Learn more about how to talk with a doctor about your DBA injury here.

 

Do I have to attend multiple Defense Medical Examinations? 

Most Judges are going to allow (or require) you to see more than one DBA insurance company doctors. I realize that this can quickly start to feel tedious. But still you actually have to attend and cooperate.

 

Always Tell The Truth

This is my mantra for my DBA practice and it should be yours too.  You have to be honest with the insurance company doctor about everything. You also have to be completely honest with your attorney and the judge with the details relating to your DBA case. I guarantee that if any of these people think you are lying or exaggerating a detail you will not receive your benefits, you will not get the help you need and you will lose your case. 

Symptoms and injuries are no exception to the "honest rule". You don't need to exaggerate your pain or fake your symptoms in order get more sympathy, empathy or help. This will not make the process of getting your benefits go faster. In fact it will do the opposite, it will lose your case. Plain and simple. 

 

What is the DBA insurance company doctor's role?

This doctor is not seeing you to get you better. Instead, the doctor is seeing you to help the DBA insurance company defend your case. The questions will be asked in a manner to minimize your injuries and try and discredit you and your case. The DBA insurance company is sending you to this doctor because they believe he will hurt your case. This can come in many different variations.

 

Do I have to be careful about what I say to the defense doctor?

Yes. You definitely  have to be careful about what I say to the DBA insurance company doctor. Everything you say to them will be repeated to the Judge in your case. 

You need to be precise in what you say. 

For example, don't say "I can't climb stairs." Unless you are in a wheelchair. It is probably more accurate to say, "I try and avoid climbing stairs because it hurts my back when I do. So, if possible, I try and avoid climbing stairs." 

 

Do I have to be nice and polite to the DBA insurance company doctor? 

Yes. You must be nice and polite. Always. 

Besides catching more flies with honey than vinegar, the last thing you want the nice doctor to be telling your judge that you were a horse's rear-end during the examination. 

It doesn't matter that this "good" doctor is trying to destroy your claim. You still have to be nice. 

 

Will the insurance company doctor have all of medical records? 

You have to assume that that DBA insurance company doctor either has all of your medical records, or will get them. Even if you haven't signed a release or records. 

It isn’t unusual for injured civilian contractors to receive a medical release form from the insurance company handling their DBA claims. Injured civilian contracts are often told that it is necessary to release their entire medical records to the insurance company in order to get benefits, the truth is that these companies are often hoping to find any information they possibly can that will help them minimize or deny your DBA claim for compensation. That's right.  The insurance adjuster is simply looking for reasons to deny your claim. They know they can make a lot of money by delegitimizing your DBA claim so they will try every time.

While you definitely shouldn’t hide any relevant injuries, symptoms, or conditions in your medical history, you should realize that—even though some records will need to be released—much of your medical history probably isn’t relevant to your current claim. The insurance company handling your DBA benefits does not necessarily need access to your entire medical record, even though it may request that you sign an unlimited medical release.

If you are being asked to release your full medical records to settle a Defense Base Act claim, protect your privacy by seeking out a well-seasoned DBA attorney.

 

What tricks and traps does the insurance company doctor have up their sleeve?

These doctors have all these tests that are specifically designed to catch you in lie. They want to prove that you're faking your injury. Whether it’s moving this way or that way or pinpricks, you need to know that this is how they will brand you as a liar. Be sure to answer all the questions truthfully. Some folks think they have to convince the doctor that they are really injured so they fudge a tad here and there. Which, in reality, "fudging" is a case killer. Take your time and be certain of your answer before you respond to the doctor.

The doctor may try and talk to you while doing the movements. The doctor is trying to distract you so that you don’t report pain on movement. Don’t fall for this trick. If you feel pain on movement while the doctor is talking, politely interrupt the doctor and tell the doctor that you are having pain.

Or the doctor can watch you get out of your car in the parking lot. And then say that you were exaggerating when you were in their office. 

What if the insurance company gives the defense doctor sub-rosa videotapes of me? 

These are called sub-rosa videos under the law.  You can expect the DBA insurance company doctor having videos of you doing all of the stuff that you have done in public. 

The defense doctor will be asked to comment on what they see in the videos. If there are inconsistencies between what you say you can and can not do due to your injuries, this is another way that they will try and attack your credibility and character. 

This is another reason why you shouldn't lie or exaggerate. 

 

Who has to pay for the travel costs of me going to the DBA insurance company doctor examination?

In a recent appeals case, the court held that trial Judge was wrong in ordering the DBA claimant to attend the defense medical examination and not requiring the DBA insurance company to pay the cost of the claimant attending the examination.

The appeals court ruled, the judge “erred in ordering claimant to bear the costs of his attendance at employer’s medical and vocational examinations in San Diego. Employer must bear the cost of obtaining its own evidence.”

Now let’s talk practicalities.  Will you have to attend the medical examination when the insurance company puts up the money?  Yes.  Will the case be delayed fighting over this point?  Yes.  

Delays mean that the DBA insurance company doesn’t have to pay for your medical treatment and/or weekly benefits until later. Guess who profits over this delay?

So, look, unless cost is a real issue, this is where it might be smart to pick your fights. Otherwise, you might end up with a two- or three-year delay in your getting benefits based on a small amount of money.  You can always make the cost of reimbursement for having to attend the DBA insurance company examination as one of your costs that you are entitled to.  

But I understand that sometimes cost is a real factor. For instance, if the DBA insurance company schedules an examination a long way from where you live and you have to travel, you’ll be spending a lot on just getting there. And the chances of the DBA insurance company paying for those expenses are small and you’ll have to fight over the issue.  

Finally, you (read: your lawyer) should be prepared to cite the recent Appeals court case that held that the DBA insurance company has to pay for you attending the defense medical examination. You may be successful in convincing the DBA insurance company that they have to pay for you attending their medical examination.

 

What if the DBA insurance company doctor is lying about my medical condition?

Frankly, this is what I have come to expect. Only it's not called "lying" with this system. It's called an alternative medical opinion. It's only a coincidence that the insurance company doctor has reached opinions that help the DBA insurance company deny your claim. 

The defense medical examiner is going to go out of their way to say that you are malingering, lying, exaggerating and/or faking. Or they are going to just "suggest"  that your are  malingering, lying, exaggerating and/or faking.

But here is the problem. The Judge may have never seen this doctor before. And the doctor is going to sound very credible on the witness stand. It's why the insurance company has hired this doctor to begin with. 

Or the Judge is going to have seen this doctor again and again. Don't be surprised if the Judge actually likes and respects the doctor. 

I'm not suggesting that any of this is fair. 

Because it's not. It's just the reality of what you are going to have to contend with. 

 

Your best move

If you have any questions about what you have read here or about "DBA medical examinations" in general get a FREE copy of my book, Win Your Defense Base Act. This book will guide you through the steps of not only building your DBA case but winning it too. 

Win Your Defense Base Act Case - Bill Turley

Check out the 5 Star reviews on amazon.com.

5 Stars on Amazon.com

You don't have to believe me

I strongly suggest that you go to amazon.com and type "Defense Base Act" in the search box. My book will come up. Then go check out the dozens of 5 star reviews on amazon.com.

 

Need help right now?

 

Call us at 619-304-1000  - If you call after regular business hours, when you leave a message, be sure to repeat your name and telephone number twice, so we get it correctly. And be sure to indicate whether it's okay if we respond by text.

 

Text us at 858-281-8008 - Be sure and put "new DBA case" in your text.

 

Or you can leave us a message on this web page.

                 

This article isn't legal advice

These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. These testimonials, endorsements, photos and/or discussions do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, or your particular case/ situation. Every case is different. There are any number of reasons why DBA cases are not won and/or are not as successful folks might have hoped for.

Just because we have gotten great results in so many other Defense Base Act cases, doesn't guarantee in particular result in other cases. Including, your DBA case. Every case is different.

William Turley
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“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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