It’s in the news again.
A medical assessor hired by an insurance company is criticized for an unfair and inaccurate report that further victimizes the injured claimant.
How Can I Protect Myself when Being Assessed by the Insurance Company?
There are steps you can take that will improve (but not guarantee) a fair assessment.
- Ensure your lawyer vets the doctor / assessor slated to conduct the assessment. If the doctor has received significant negative judicial commentary, your lawyer should consider requesting (or getting a court order for) a video-taped assessment. While these requests are not frequently granted, for assessors with a checkered past, it is worth asking.
- Make detailed notes of the assessment as soon as it is finished. Some of our clients will dictate their notes immediately into their smart phone so that they don’t forget. You will want to document:
- The length of time of any interview.
- The length of time of any physical assessment.
- What you wore for the physical assessment.
- What physical tests were conducted.
- What, if anything, you said during the physical assessment.
- What, if anything the assessor said to you during the assessment.
- If you requested a break, or mentioned any pain or other problems you were having during the assessment.
- If anyone other than the assessor was present and, if so, what role that person played.
What Do I do if the Assessment if Unfair?
It is important to read the assessment report as soon as your lawyer provides it. If there are facts (as opposed to opinions) that are incorrect, tell your lawyer immediately. For example:
- If the assessor makes a mistake relating to your age, marital or family status;
- If the assessor makes a significant error relating to the date you were injured;
- If the assessor mis-describes the event that caused the injury;
- If the assessor makes errors when describing your past medical history;
- If the assessor describes physical tests that he / she did not actually conduct.
What Can my Lawyer do if an Assessment is Unfair?
At a trial, your lawyer will have an opportunity to cross-examine the assessor. Your lawyer will also have an opportunity to present your own expert’s evidence, as well as the evidence of any treating doctors. You may also have an opportunity to testify about how the assessment was conducted and what you said.
Before trial, your lawyer may or may not choose to point out the issues with the defence medical assessments. Sometimes, it is worthwhile to point out the issues if it appears that doing so will assist to achieve a settlement. Other times, your lawyer may wish to save the problems with the assessment for trial.
Speak to your lawyer about the best approach to handling an unfair assessment. Together, you can develop a strategy that best meets the goals for your case.
The lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth would be very happy to discuss your case with you. Call us at 613 233-4529.