Central New York personal injury lawyers like me have a tough job. We have to convince a skeptical jury that our client’s injuries are real and significant. Most injuries are fairly “invisible”. It doesn’t help that most pain and limitations in movement do not appear on x-rays or other films. Unless the injury is very visible and obvious – like an amputated arm — most jurors start out with the preconceived notion that the plaintiff is either faking or exaggerating her injury to get money in court. (Actually, this is very rarely the case, and is never the case when we at Michaels & Smolak present a plaintiff to a jury).
To present our clients’ injuries to the jury, we of course must elicit testimony from witnesses who have seen, first hand, the real life consequences of the injuries. Such witnesses include not only the plaintiff herself and her immediate family members, employers, and others who have witnesses how the injury has changed her life, but also medical doctors who have performed surgery or treated her. All these witnesses bolster the veracity of the injury.
The insurance companies we are up against, on the other hand, hire their own doctors to examine the plaintiff and to testify regarding the injuries. Naturally, since these hired-gun doctors are not in the business of treating the injured plaintiff, but in supplying testimony paid for by the insurance company, their testimony tends to be biased against the plaintiff. Their “job” is to try to minimize the injury. The examinations they perform on plaintiffs are misnamed an “Independent Medical Examinations” (“IMEs”) and the doctors who performs them are sometimes called “IME” doctors. On the plaintiffs’ side, we prefer to call these examinations “Defense Medical Examinations”, or “DME’S”, since there is really nothing “independent” about them. (Read my prior post about IME’s).