Are Medical Doctors Willing Puppets For Cross-Examination?

Today’s post comes from guest author Roger Moore from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.

It used to be that the most to fear from an examination scheduled by an insurance company would be an unfair or incomplete assessment of the work injury. Now it seems insurance companies are using doctors to essentially cross-examine injured workers and delve deeply into irrelevant issues in an attempt to embarrass, harass and probe where they do not belong.

  • Do you have painful, frequent, or difficulty urinating?
  • Do you have painful breasts, periods or intercourse?
  • Have you suffered physical, sexual or emotional abuse?
  • Do you have erectile difficulty?
  • Do you get along with supervisors and other employees?
  • Do physical or mental problems run in your family?
  • Is anyone in your family disabled?
  • Did you smoke, drink or use illegal drugs in the past?

These are some of the more disturbing questions asked by a doctor of a patient in a pre-exam questionnaire sent directly from the doctor’s office to the injured worker. You might surmise that this was a case of some sort of reproductive injury associated with mental duress of some type by looking at the questions. In fact, this worker only alleged carpal tunnel syndrome! Most assuredly, embarrassing facts about this worker would just happen to show up in the defense doctor’s final report for the Court’s review at trial.

Any time anyone other than your lawyer sends you something to complete, you should be very careful about filling it out. It’s probably unethical for doctors to send these reports to injured workers who are represented, but we’re seeing more and more of these go out. They are becoming more and more intrusive; in fact, this questionnaire was 11 pages long. It’s my practice not to have clients complete any of these pre-exam questionnaires from doctors.