Just What Exactly Is A CME?

Paralyzed man using his wheelchair

What is a CME?

A CME is a Compulsory Medical Examination. It’s also sometimes referred to by its old name, the Independent Medical Exam. No matter what you call it, it’s essentially a medical examination ordered by insurance companies to check the health and wellbeing of a person who was injured in an accident. The outcome of the CME could determine whether or not you are able to receive compensation for your injuries.

What does the CME look for?

A CME looks for several things. It is focused on determining the extent and severity of your injuries and also on determining whether or not your injuries are related to your accident or if they’re the result of something else.

Do I choose the doctor that performs the CME?

A CME is ordered by the insurance provider, and they will also choose the medical professional who handles the exam. You don’t get to pick, and the insurance provider is actually paid by the insurance provider. This raises a major issue since the person being paid will often have the best interests of the group that is paying them in mind.

What about my own doctor and his exam?

The CME is one of the main reasons that seeing a doctor as soon as possible after an accident is so important. Their initial findings can help you show that the CME is flawed. Additionally, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor on the same day of your CME. This way, you will get an unbiased exam that can be used to show the CME may not be accurate. It’s one of the best ways to stand up to the CME process and hopefully get what you’re owed.

This isn’t fair, is it?

No, and you’re not alone in thinking so. There’s been litigation about CMEs for years, and consumer advocate groups and legislators have wanted to make significant changes to them ranging from being able to record the CME to increasing transparency and information about them. However, so far the CME is still a tool that insurance companies can use to prevent you from getting the compensation you’re owed.

What do I need to do at the CME?

As frustrating as the situation is, you need to take it seriously and try to be respectful. Don’t joke or seem aloof during the exam process. In fact, it’s best to approach your CME with the same mindset and attitude you would at a trial. Also, be honest, prompt, and answer all questions clearly. And never volunteer any information that isn’t asked for. Remember, the doctor handling your CME may not have your best interests at heart.

What about disability and long-term recovery?

Disabilities, long-term medical care, and significant lost wages throughout the future are all things that can increase a settlement amount – and a big part of why insurance companies want to use a CME to prove that you don’t deserve compensation. Seeing your own doctor will help dramatically, and trusting in your attorney as well as your own doctor could be the only way to ensure that you don’t get pushed around or taken advantage of during the CME process.

Can my attorney help me with the CME process and its impact on my case?

Your lawyer can indeed help with the CME process. They can give you guidance, help you understand what to expect, and tell you more about concerns you’ll need to pay attention to. But beyond just preparing you, your lawyer will continue to fight in other ways such as using secondary medical exams from medical professionals who aren’t paid by the insurance companies. During this long, difficult process, your attorney will be your greatest ally and will help you not just through the CME process, but help you get the compensation that you’re owed as well.