Frequently asked questions
- Can I claim without seeing a doctor?
- What is a ‘pre-medical offer’?
- Why do I have to go for a medical?
- What is a medical report?
- Do I still need a medical examination even when I have already seen my own doctor?
- Do I still need a medical examination even when my injuries have healed?
- Will I have to travel far for my medical examination?
- Do I have to pay for my medical examination?
- Do I need to prepare for my medical examination?
- What should I expect at the medical examination?
- What happens after my medical examination?
1. Can I claim without seeing a doctor?
You can bring a claim to a solicitor without having seen a doctor first. However, in most cases you will still be required to have a medical examination with an independent medical expert that is arranged by your solicitor during your case.
The few cases where you are not required to have a medical appointment are when the defendant makes you a ‘pre-medical offer’. Such offers can occur but are few and will hopefully be phased out entirely.
2. What is a ‘pre-medical offer’?
A pre-medical offer (sometimes shortened to pre-med) is when the defendant and/or the defendant’s insurers want to settle your claim without the need for you to attend any medical assessments.
Whilst this may sound very appealing to some people, we would highly advise against agreeing to such offers. This is because their offer will most likely be based on your visible injuries and not all injuries are visible and immediately noticeable.
From our experience, the compensation awarded for pre-med offers are often a third of what a claimant deserves to be awarded.
Rejecting a pre-med offer does not end your claim or your rights to claim.
3. Why do I have to go for a medical?
A medical professional can assess your visible injuries and locate any hidden injuries that you may not have realised yet.
They can give you and your solicitor a reliable estimated recovery time period for your injuries. This is important as your solicitor may use this information when determining how much compensation you should be awarded.
The medical expert will be able to diagnose if you have suffered any serious injuries. They can then refer you to the relevant specialists for further tests or therapy towards aiding your recovery.
Lastly, the medical examination is for the medical expert to prepare you a medical report. This document is very important as it will be addressed to the court should your case reach court.
4. What is a medical report?
A medical report is prepared by a medical expert during your medical examination for your claim.
The medical report will detail:
- the circumstances of your accident,
- the injuries that you have suffered,
- how your injuries have affected your job, hobbies or lifestyle,
- and to confirm any recommendations for further treatment needed to ease your injuries.
We appreciate that being injured is distressing and that the accident is something most claimants would prefer to forget rather than bring up. However, your medical report will be addressed to the court (should your case reach court) and, subject to your approval, will be relied upon as medical evidence of your pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
It is therefore important that the content of the medical report and what you tell us is factually correct. It is crucial that you make us aware at the onset of your claim of any relevant medical history including, but not limited to, any ongoing health issues and your injuries from any involvement in accidents previous or following the accident for which you are claiming for.
At court, the defendant’s side will likely examine not only your medical report but also your medical history. Our opponents may choose to undermine your credibility on the basis of inconsistencies between your medical history on paper and your ability to recall the extent of your injuries in respect of the accident in which you are claiming for.
For example, your medical history may show that you have a history of migraines and challenge why you have listed suffering from a migraine as a result of the accident you are claiming for. They may claim that you suffering from a migraine after your accident is the result of mere coincidence and is not an injury caused by your recent accident.
To ensure that this is not the case, we may, with your consent, obtain your full details of any previous accidents from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and seek to obtain your medical records and history. Using this data will allow us to help you understand the reason and the cause of your injuries and help to clear up any evidence overlap. If you are unsure of whether you have a ‘relevant’ medical history, do not hesitate to contact your solicitor for clarity.
5. Do I still need a medical examination even when I have already seen my own doctor?
Yes. We will arrange for your medical examination with an independent medical expert. An official medical report for your injuries needs to be completed by someone who is registered with MedCo (if your injury is considered a low value soft tissue injury) and/or who has no affiliations with yourself.
6. Do I still need a medical examination even when my injuries have healed?
Yes. A medical report is required for your case and that can only be produced by the medical expert from your medical assessment.
Also, sometimes a medical expert may be able to confirm hidden injuries that you cannot see, or even feel until you are attempting certain motions.
7. Will I have to travel far for my medical examination?
Let us reassure you that we will do our utmost to arrange for a medical examination that is located as close to where you live as possible. If there are complications with the arrangements, then please contact your solicitor as soon as possible to discuss this matter with them.
8. Do I have to pay for my medical examination?
No. Whilst there is a cost for your medical examination, the cost is claimed back from the defendant or their insurer if you win your case. However, if you are unsuccessful with your case, the ATE insurance that you should have taken at the beginning of your claim should cover the medical report fees.
9. Do I need to prepare for my medical examination?
It is not compulsory to prepare for your medical examination, but it would be very beneficial to you and your claim if you did.
You can prepare for your medical examination by keeping a log or a diary of the effects that the accident has had on you since the accident occurred. The log should include regular updates on where the pain can be felt in your body, the severity of the pain, and how the experience of the accident is affecting your daily life.
Depending on how early you started your claim after your accident, you may find yourself attending a medical examination many months after the accident. By keeping such a log, you can guarantee that you won’t forget any key details about the accident, as well as all of your sustained injuries. This is very important because you will not get any compensation for any site of injury that you forget to mention to the medical expert during your medical examination.
Before seeing the medical expert, you may want to ask yourself some questions in preparation, such as: –
- What caused the injury?
- Where is my pain?
- Do I have pain in more than one area?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how painful is my injury?
- How long after the accident did my pain begin?
- Has my pain got better over time?
- Did I attend my GP or hospital after the accident?
- Have I had any treatment since the accident?
- Have I been restricted in any activities such as lifting?
- Have I had any time off work?
- Have I needed care and assistance since the accident?
- Are there other restrictions caused by my injury?
- Did I have pain before the accident?
10. What should I expect at the medical examination?
You will normally be expected to complete a medical questionnaire before your medical examination takes place. You should complete this questionnaire as accurately and truthfully as you can. We suggest that if you are unsure of any information required by the questionnaire, that you should confirm that you are ‘unsure’. This will allow you the option to provide the information at a later date.
The medical examination takes approximately 15-30 minutes depending on the severity of your injuries. The medical expert will ask you questions about the circumstances of the accident, including the causes of your injuries, the symptoms experienced, the treatment you may have had and the effect the injuries have had on your day to day life.
They will likely carry out a physical examination, although the extent of this will depend on the severity of your injuries and how much you have recovered since.
You should keep a hold of any receipts or letters for any travel expenses or other if you would like to claim them back at the end of your case. These expenses will be claimed back from the other party should you win your case.
11. What happens after my medical examination?
The medical expert will prepare a medical report (also known as a medico-legal report) within a few weeks of your appointment. Once we have received your report, we will review it in detail to cross-reference with any evidence that we hold. We will then forward the report to you along with our advice and a questionnaire for you to complete.
At any stage before, during or after your medical examination, if you have any questions, queries or concerns, then we recommend that you contact us to discuss it so that we can put your mind at ease and steer you in the right direction.
This page was last updated on 1st September 2016. This is a disclaimer to say that although we do make an effort to ensure that information contained on this website is accurate and up-to-date, we would like to remind you that this information is subject to change without notice and that we can accept no liability for the accuracy and/or inaccuracy of the information contained on this website at any given time.