Posted on: 9 April 2016
As part of the workers' comp claim process, you may be ordered to undergo a medical exam with a doctor who is believed to be impartial, or not known to show bias towards patients or workers' comp. The report generated by this doctor is typically treated as binding medical evidence and given more weight than other evidence, which can be legally devastating for you if it minimizes the severity of your injuries or directly disputes reports provided by other healthcare professionals. Here are your options if this happens in your workers' comp case.
Conduct a Physician Deposition
In many cases, you can request the physician participate in a deposition as a means of obtaining additional information. This gives your attorney an opportunity to ask questions that may result in testimony that's more amendable to your case. For instance, the attorney could challenge some of the conclusions the doctor made about your injuries, which may lead to the medical professional change his or her mind about part of or the entire diagnosis.
Be aware, though, that you may be required to show the doctor's report is inadequate or unusable in some way. The Massachusetts court will only allow the submission of deposition testimony if the court finds the doctor's report to be inadequate, for instance. Strangely enough, a doctor's inability to participate in the deposition can render his or her original report inadequate in this state.
Another issue is that you may be required to pay a fee for the deposition. In the previous example, Massachusetts requires the deposing party to pay the doctor up to $600 for three hours of testimony. However, this fee may be returned to you if you win your case.
Show Evidence of Bias
Another option is to get the report thrown out of court by showing evidence of bias on the doctor's behalf. There are a couple of ways you can do this. One way is to prove the doctor does independent medical examinations for worker's compensation.
States that require impartial medical exams typically have a list of doctors who have proven to not be partial to patients or the workers' compensation insurance company. Any doctor who shows bias will usually be taken off the list and you can have the report they wrote dismissed as a result. Showing proof the doctor does these examinations would be enough to sway the court to your side in this particular issue.
Another option is to show the doctor overwhelmingly produces reports that are unfavorable to patients or favorable to workers' comp. This can indicate bias, and the court may be willing to let you be examined by a different doctor on the list of approved medical professionals.
Either of these options can be challenging to prove and will likely require talking to other people involved in workers' compensation cases or subpoenaing information from the doctor.
There may be other options for dealing with an adverse report from an impartial medical professional. Contact a workers' compensation attorney for assistance.Share