General Advice – June 2021

General Advice – June 2021

Preparing Your Client for a Medicolegal Examination

Plaintiffs presenting for medicolegal examinations are quite often struggling. They have been subjected to an initial insult or injury, have required a therapeutic programme or regimen that could be quite prolonged, feel disbelieved or rejected by insurers and have to tolerate the rigours of travelling to the city for yet another consultation. Unsurprisingly, many plaintiffs become tired of the whole process and display irritation, frustration and even anger.

To make it worse, the plaintiff is often examined by an Orthopaedic Surgeon who has been engaged by the insurer. Both sides of this sword are sharp.

On the one hand, seeing an Orthopaedic Surgeon can be unpleasant. Some Orthopaedic Surgeons are noted for their lack of empathy and their inability to engage and demonstrate warmth or courtesy. The other side of the sword relates to the misconception on the part of the plaintiff that the Orthopaedic Surgeon is “working for the other side”. Clearly, that is not true.

It would be useful if you engage with your plaintiff before referring him or her for this examination. Explain the process, attempt to defuse any fear or apprehension and encourage the plaintiff to take a longer term and more sanguine view.