A compulsory medical examination, “CME” for short, is a medical examination conducted by a doctor to verify the claimed injuries of a person who is involved  in a lawsuit. The purpose of a CME is to evaluate whether the injured person is telling the truth about the nature and extent of her injuries. CME’s are a powerful tool for defendants in personal injury cases, including insurance cases, because the results of a CME may contradict the plaintiff’s claim.

The “compulsory” part of a CME means that, in many circumstances, a plaintiff may be required to undergo a CME by law. If a defendant is not entitled a CME by law, he still may be able to request an court order allowing him to hire a doctor to conduct a CME. Most jurisdictions, or court orders, outline the circumstances under which a defendant is entitled to conduct a CME and give guidelines regarding:

  • Who can conduct a CME;
  • What kind of examination can be conducted, including what kinds of test and procedures (if any) may be conducted;
  • When and where the CME can take place;
  • Who may be present at the CME;
  • Who is entitled to a copy of the CME report; and
  • How a plaintiff may object to CME request.

Generally, a CME must be conducted by a licensed medical doctor chosen by the defendant. A CME will typically not involve procedures or tests that are invasive of painful. Most jurisdictions require that a CME be conducted in a location reasonably convenient to the plaintiff,  or that the plaintiff be reimbursed for any necessary travel expenses. Some jurisdictions exclude psychiatric or other specific types of examinations completely without a court order specifically allowing it. The guidelines in a jurisdiction or a court order granting a CME will also likely define a procedure by which a plaintiff can object generally to a defendant’s request for a CME, or to the specific circumstances of the examination, including to a defendant’s choice of doctor who will conduct the examination.

The law can vary dramatically depending on where the lawsuit is pending, so if you are a plaintiff who may be subject to a CME, you should consult an attorney immediately to learn your rights and know what to expect. If you are a defendant in a personal injury case and think you may be entitled to conduct a CME, you should contact an attorney such as the personal injury lawyer Phoenix AZ locals turn to who can advise you regarding the rules and requirements in your jurisdiction.


Thanks to authors at Lorona Mead Attorneys at Law for their insight into Criminal Defense Law.