Attorney David I. Fuchs
Aug. 12, 2014
When you are involved in a car accident, especially one caused by the negligence of another driver, your first priority should be to make sure that you have not suffered any serious injuries as a result. Personal injury attorneys in Fort Lauderdale recommend that you take a quick trip to your personal physician, or to a local UrgiCare or MedExpress, to ensure that you are safe and sound after an accident, and to investigate any lingering twinges, muscle aches, or residual pains. However, in Florida, a medical exam is not required to file a personal injury lawsuit against another driver, but it may cause issues during your trial.
A compulsory medical exam, or CME, can be requested of a plaintiff or a defendant during a personal injury trial under the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure. In Rule 1.360, a party is granted the right to request an examination, in circumstances “when the condition that is the subject of the requested examination is in controversy.” A CME can be requested if the defendant wants proof of an accident victim’s injuries, or if one party believes the other is lying or exaggerating the extent of the damage caused. The party that asks for the CME results must demonstrate that they have good reason to make the request before it will be granted, and has the burden of presenting this evidence in the courtroom.
In a recent case, the Fourth District issued a determination regarding Rule 1.360 as it pertains to car accidents. The case involved an automobile accident in which the plaintiff’s daughter was killed while passing a tractor-trailer. The daughter was rear-ended by another vehicle, and swerved into oncoming traffic, hitting the defendant’s car. The defendant was accused of negligence for failing to avoid the crash, and the plaintiff cited the driver’s age and physical condition as factors in the accident.
The plaintiff requested a neurological CME to back up the claim that the driver was not in a safe state of mind to be operating a vehicle. Under Rule 1.360, this request is legitimate, but only if it is precipitated by evidence of necessity that would justify requesting the CME. Upon further investigation into the request, the Fourth District ruled that the plaintiffs did not adequately demonstrate that the man’s health and mental state was the cause of the negligent driving at the time of the accident, and allowed the defendant to refuse to submit to a CME.
In most personal injury cases, a plaintiff or victim must undergo a CME to prove that the injuries sustained are legitimate, and will require medical attention, cause a loss of consortium, or otherwise hinder the victim. On the opposite, as this case demonstrates, the defendant rarely has to prove a mental or physical capability to drive, even though he or she is at fault in the accident.
If you have been involved in a car accident, and the extent of your injuries has been called into question, contact Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyer David I Fuchs for a free, no-strings consultation today.