Will I need a medical if I make a work injury claim?

Updated: October 8, 2020

If you decide to make a compensation claim following an injury at work, you will need to attend a ‘medico-legal’ assessment. A medical assessment of your injury is a critical part of making a claim.

Why do I need a medical?

An independent medical assessment will help establish that your accident was the cause of your injuries. The assessment will provide a professional opinion on the extent of your pain, suffering and loss of mobility. The medical will consider the impact the injury has had on your life, the prognosis for recovery and it will advise on suitable treatments and care.

The solicitor will then use the medical report to quantify the right level of damages to claim.

Who will carry out the medical?

An independent and impartial expert will complete the medical. Your solicitor will select the expert based on their expertise and familiarity with your specific type of injury.

Usually, the medical professional will have simar specialism to the medical expert that has provided you with care and treatment. Choosing an expert in your type of injury helps ensure the most thorough review of your injury. A specialist will fully understand how your injury has affected you and will make sure that any further needs or medical treatments are identified.

Can I choose which doctor carries out the medical?

No. Choosing an impartial and independent expert is critical in ensuring that the defendant cannot argue that the medical report is biased.

What happens once the medical report has been prepared?

Once you have attended the medical, the expert will produce a detailed medical report. The report will be reviewed by the solicitor to ensure that it is consistent with their understanding of the case.

There is usually a bit of back and forth between the expert and the solicitor if elements of the report have been missed or are incorrect.

Your solicitor will then forward the report to you for your approval. Once you have approved the report, your solicitor will forward it to the defendant's solicitor.

When will the medical exam take place?

The sooner, the better. Solicitors will usually try to arrange an appointment at the earliest opportunity. The more time that elapses between your injury and the exam, the harder it can be to establish a link between the accident and your injury. This does not necessarily mean that a delay will compromise your case.

It may also be that multiple exams are required as the true extent of your injury reveals itself over time.

What happens at the medical exam?

The doctor will conduct a full physical review, focusing on the site of your injury. The doctor will also want to ascertain whether there are any psychological symptoms and may ask you questions about this.

Can I take someone to the exam with me?

Yes, although you will usually need to notify the medical centre in advance. If you do take a friend, colleague or family member, they will be expected to be a passive spectator and must not interfere with the process.

How long will the medical take?

The length of the medical assessment will depend on the type, severity and complexity of your injury, but assessments usually take around 30 minutes. Claimants often comment on how short the medical is. The process can feel shorter than expected as the expert will be carrying out a pre-formatted assessment of your injuries, rather than acting as your doctor.

What should I do before the medical?

The more information and context you give the doctor, the more they will understand the extent to which your injuries have affected you.

It would make sense for you to write down everything you can think of and to take your notes to the medical with you. In particular, make notes on how your injury happened and how you have been affected - including your job, hobbies and pastimes, plans for the future and your ability to care for dependents and loved ones.

Will the medical be carried out near me?

Yes. Your solicitor will have access to a national network of experts and will choose a private clinic or treatment centre near to your home. If you are unable to travel to the appointment, the medical can usually be conducted at your home.

Will the expert need access to my medical records?

Yes. The medical expert will need access to your medical records to carry out a thorough exam. The expert will be looking at any pre-existing conditions that could have an impact on your injury and recovery. Without access to these records, the defendant could argue that the expert was unable to take all factors into account.

Access to your medical records would be granted by you signing a release form at the start of the claim process. If you are uncomfortable with this, you can refuse to sign the release form. Although a case may still be possible without access to your records, the defendant will likely argue that you are trying to hide something, and this could again negatively impact the outcome.

Will I receive a copy of the report?

Yes. You will receive a copy of the report which you can keep. Your solicitor will ask you to read the report thoroughly and make any comments. If the report is incorrect or inaccurate, your solicitor will contact the medical expert and ask them to review it.

Is the report confidential?

Yes. The medical report will never be shared with anyone else without your permission. Your solicitor will need access to the report, and you can grant permission when you first instruct the solicitor. The defendant’s solicitor will ultimately need a copy of the report, but this will only happen once you have granted permission.

Will I have to pay for the exam?

No. Medical assessments are FREE - claimants do not have to pay for their medical assessment.

Have you been injured at work?

If you have been injured at work in the last 3 years, you may be able to claim financial compensation.

Find out more about making a work accident claim:

  • Do you qualify?
  • How much compensation could you get?
  • How does No Win, No Fee work?

Read more: Work accident claim guide

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