If you are pursuing a claim for personal injury, your Solicitors will normally ask that you attend a medico-legal appointment to be examined by an independent medical expert. The expert’s job is to act as an impartial assessor of your injuries and prepare a medical report. In order to detail your injury, the medical evidence must confirm the nature, severity and impact of your injury.
The type of expert you see is determined by the injuries you sustained as a result of your accident; in Road Traffic Accident claims where whiplash injuries have been suffered, you will most likely be examined by a GP. In these circumstances, it is unlikely that the medical expert will require sight of your medical records.
If you have suffered other injuries, for example fractures or hand injuries, you will be required to attend an examination by an appropriate expert such as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon or Hand Surgeon. A Consultant expert is more likely to want to see your medical records.
You are obligated to attend such an appointment. The appointment will be organised by either your Solicitor or your Opponent’s Solicitor at venue close to you.
In most cases, attending an appointment for medico-legal purposes will much the same as attending an appointment with a doctor for advice or treatment outside the litigation scenario. The major difference is the expert has been engaged to provide a medico-legal report and not seeing you with a view to providing you with treatment or advice and will not do so.
You will be required to take to the appointment your appointment letter and a form of ID, such as passport or driving licence to verify you are who you say you are. Your Solicitor will already have provided the medical expert with full instructions relating to your injuries.
The medical expert will wish to:
You are welcome to take somebody to the appointment with you but they may not be allowed into the examination room. This will depend on the expert.
If you require an Interpreter, you should inform your Solicitor who can arrange for one to accompany you to the appointment.
It is important that you attend any appointment organised as most medical experts will charge quite a substantial cancellation or non-attendance fee and it is highly likely that you will be required to pay this fee.
It is also important that you co-operate fully with the medical expert.
Unlike other medical appointments you might attend, a medico-legal appointment will not be confidential. What you tell the medical expert will form the contents of a report which will be provided to your Solicitor and could be disclosed as evidence in court.
Once the report is received by your Solicitor, a copy will be sent to you. It is not uncommon for it to take up to 4-6 weeks after the appointment for your Solicitor to receive the report.
If you have any questions before or after attending the appointment it is always wise to contact your Solicitor for advice.