Foreign Language Interpreters
for Medical Examinations and the
Rules of Evidence

Medical Interpreting Services for IMEs

In a personal injury trial involving a non-English speaking witness, the court ruled that, according to section 755.5 of the Code of Evidence, “during any medical examination, requested by an insurer or by the defendant, of a person to a civil action who does not proficiently speak or understand the English language, conducted for the purpose of determining damages in a civil action”, an IME interpreter shall be present to interpret the examination in a language that the person understands.

In addition, the foreign language interpreter must be certified according to stated requirements. If the record or testimony concerning any medical examination was conducted in violation to such requirements, it will be considered inadmissible in the civil action.

In the case at hand, the Plaintiff was not proficient in English. At his IME (independent medical examination), a friend of the plaintiff interpreted the doctor’s examination. As the interpreter was not certified, Plaintiff moved in limine to preclude his testimony. The court granted the motion as to testimony related to conversations they had with the plaintiff or any statement the plaintiff made, however they allowed testimony related to their finding from review of the medical records, their observations and their opinions.

See Nazari v. Set Ayrapetyan, EC037446 (Ap. Court California, 2009).


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