The Preliminary Conference Order will mandate that the defendant provide a copy of the report of the examination performed by the insurance doctor. Generally, the defendant must do so within 45 days of the examination.
Once received, it is always prudent to review it carefully. These reports are often hastily prepared by the insurance doctors. First, look for grammatical and factual errors (e.g., the misspelling of your client’s name, the wrong date of accident, etc). These mistakes can lay the foundation at trial to show that the doctor is not detail oriented or is simply not serious about his or her medical skills.
Next, review the report for items that actually support your case. Take note of who the report is addressed to – Usually it will be addressed to the company that sets up the insurance doctor examinations. This can be used as evidence that the doctors are engaged in a business (versus medical) endeavor.
The substantive information may be useful to you in proving your case. Range of motion tests performed on your client may indicate a loss of range of motion. The doctor may acknowledge that your client has pain upon palpation. The diagnosis may reveal that the doctor acknowledges your client suffered a traumatic injury. These items are ammunition during cross examination of the insurance doctor. You should tab and mark up the report and keep it in a “Trial Folder.”
Finally, the end of the report will often state that the examination did not create a “Patient / Client Relationship.” This, too, can be used during cross examination to discredit the doctor’s examination and reduce it to a mere business venture.
In the next blog I will discuss a “Motion for Summary Judgement” and how it can be used as a tool to resolve a case.