What is a Compulsory Medical Examination (CME)?
A Compulsory Medical Examination (CME) is a tool insurance carriers often take full advantage of in defending either a bodily injury (BI) or uninsured/underinsured (UIM) lawsuit.
Each insurance carrier and insurance defense lawyer has a handful of physicians they routinely retain to conduct CME’s. Some of the biggest hired guns are hired by a number of insurance carriers. For example, in Tampa Bay we see the very same physicians like Scott Cutler, D.O. (Neurosurgeon) retained by the defense/insurance carrier on a majority of spine injury and specifically spine surgery cases. We can often anticipate what the physician will state in their reports they repeat themselves so often. CME physicians are paid quite handsomely for the work or lack thereof they perform.
It is important that you maintain a very serious demeanor during your medical examination. The CME physician is not your friend and you should avoid making small talk with this individual. The physician performing a CME has been retained by an insurance carrier (or by a defense lawyer being paid by the insurance carrier) to poke holes in your case. In a majority of cases they will minimalize your injuries in their reports and testimony offered at either deposition or trial. We always meet with our clients prior to a CME just the same as before a deposition.
We strongly recommend scheduling an appointment with your own treating physician the same day as your CME. This will enable us to compare and contrast the findings of a physician who is treating you with the doctor bought and paid for by an insurance carrier. We have seen CME doctors stating our client has no loss in range of motion or a lack of neurological deficits when their own treating physician reports just the opposite on the very same day. By videotaping the CME, we can often demonstrate just how little the hired gun did during their examination and often ignoring clear complaints.
The next time you wonder how that defendant could afford such an expert you must remind yourself that the at-fault party is almost always represented by an attorney paid for by their insurance carrier who pays for the physician. The CME physician will often take shots at the treating physician while testifying at trial. In fact, you may hear the physician testify that the medical bills charged by the treating physician are absurd. Keep in mind this physician makes a very nice living testifying over and over again for the defense and their lack of objectivity ensures job security.