What Is a Defense Medical Examination?

More commonly referred to as a DME, a defense medical examination is the physical examination of an injured railway worker, conducted by a physician of the rail company’s choosing for the purpose of helping them defend themselves against your claim.

How do I prepare for a defense medical examination?

You may also hear this exam called an IME, an independent medical examination (although historically speaking, the “I” actually stood for insurance). If you stop and think about it though, there isn’t anything “independent” about this exam. The physician assigned to you was strategically selected by the rail company to aid in its defense. 

Once you understand that the doctor is a lackey for the railroad, you will be in the right headspace when it is time for your exam.  

If you sustained an injury during the course and scope of your employment as a railroad worker, you need the help of an experienced and reputable railroad injury attorney to ensure you secure the monetary recovery you deserve. The Virginia railway accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & have been winning railroad injury cases since 1985. Call our Norfolk-area personal injury law firm today to schedule your free FELA consultation.  

What to Do if You Have to Attend a DME

Prior to the exam, you should ask your lawyer for detailed advice. You will not need, nor should you take, any documentation other than a valid picture ID. You are not meant to be subjected to a full inquiry about your accident, that’s what the deposition is for. You are there to give a simple and very basic explanation of how you were injured (concussion, soft tissue injury, etc.) and what symptoms you are currently experiencing. Usually, the physician will take you through a few standard tests that are designed to establish your physical limitations.  

What Should I Do During My DME?

  • Be aware of how much time the doctor actually spends with you.
  • Document what tests the doctor actually performs.
  • Call your attorney as soon as you leave.
  • Be honest but vague.
  • Be aware of surveillance.
  • Do not fill out any forms.

If you are unable to reach your attorney when the exam is over, write down a few notes so you can provide them with an accurate account of what happened. 

Some other important things to note for your attorney include:

  • What was the name of the device used to test you?
  • Did the doctor ignore the part of your body you said was having the issue?
  • Did the doctor rush through the exam or examine you without actually touching you?
  • Was the exam held somewhere other than a doctor’s office or medical facility, such as a hotel conference room?

When the written defense medical examination is released to your attorney, read it thoroughly and ensure it is accurate.

  • Does the report accurately reflect everything you said? Does it make it look as though you said something you didn’t? 
  • Did the doctor do everything the report claims they did?

If you have any questions about something contained in the report, take a copy to your physician and ask them to explain it to you. 

Talk to an Experienced FELA Attorney Today

It is important to be extremely careful about your DME because, unlike your regular doctor, the one conducting your DME works for the rail company and is absolutely unbothered with your well-being.  He, like the carrier, is busy serving other interests, such as minimizing your claim.

The personal injury law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has been handling FELA cases for over 40 years. We pride ourselves on putting our clients and their health ahead of everything else. We can explain your legal options to you in a free consultation with a reputable Virginia FELA attorney. Schedule yours today by calling (833) 997-1774. 

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