What can I expect at a Medico-Legal Examinations?

During the course of your claim you will be asked to attend medical examinations both on behalf of your lawyer and on behalf of the insurance company.

The purpose of the medical examination is for a suitably qualified doctor to provide an opinion in relation to your injury in respect of the following:

  • What injury or medical condition you have as a result of the injury.
  • The cause of that injury or medical condition.
  • If an accident or the nature of your work has aggravated some underlying condition.
  • The prognosis for your injury, that is, what in the future is likely to happen?
  • Your ability to work as a result of the injury.
  • An assessment of the percentage whole person impairment.

The examination is intended to be an independent and honest assessment of your injury and is to be impartial as possible.

The examination can be arranged by usually one of the three parties to a legal case as follows:

  1. Your solicitor
  2. The insurance company or its solicitor
  3. An independent body such as the Workers Compensation Commission or the Motor Accidents Authority

Before attending a doctor you should make sure you know who has arranged the examination and if you are unsure you should ask your solicitor.

Once the examination is complete a report will be sent from the doctor who examined you to the person who has arranged the examination. That person will also usually pay for the cost of the doctor’s report. The report is confidential. The person who receives the report does not need to provide a copy of the report to anyone else or even you.

The doctor you will see is usually a specialist in the area most relevant to the injury you have sustained such as an Orthopedic Specialist for a knee or back injury. The doctor is also usually a consultant which means they have generally retired from private practice. Usually the doctor only prepares medico-legal reports and no longer treats any patients.

You are not seeing the doctor as his/her patient; the doctor is not able to give you advice about your medical problems. The doctor also cannot give you any treatment. Any advice in relation to your condition or treatment should be obtained from your own medical practitioners and not from a medico-legal doctor.

You should ensure you have the correct appointment date, time and address. A failure to attend an appointment usually results in a cancellation fee of a few hundred dollars which you will be required to pay.

If you need an interpreter you should request one to be available.

You need to take with you all x-rays, scans and all other tests that you have had relevant to your condition so a complete assessment can be made by the doctor.

The doctor will introduce himself and by agreement may allow you to have a friend or relative with you during the examination. That person should not interrupt or interfere with the examination.

The doctor will ask a number of questions about your injury or accident and the circumstances that caused it. He or she will ask you about your treatment and how the injury affects you now. He or she may ask you about your past medical history, employment history and lifestyle.

The doctor will carry out a physical examination, both in respect of the injured parts of your body but also to other body parts as well.

If the doctor asks you to do something that will cause pain then please mention this to the doctor. You are supposed to co-operate with the doctor however you do not need to be in pain.

If the doctor asks you a question that you do not wish to answer then you may say so. If the doctor wishes to examine you and you do not agree you may also refuse. Any refusal however will be mentioned in the medical report.

The doctor should carry out the examination in a respectful manner and not hurt you.

Normally a medico-legal examination takes between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Some examinations can however be completed in a shorter period of time depending on what the doctor has been asked to assess.

The doctor will ask you questions which he/she considers relevant and will aim to let you go as soon as possible.

If you cancel an appointment within 24 hours usually the Doctor will charge a non-attendance fee for which you may be responsible for payment.