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 attorneywho can advise you regarding the rules and requirements in your jurisdiction.