Burdine & Brown
"Medical Testimony in Court”
Workers' Compensation Litigated Cases-Part I
In Workers' Compensation cases that are litigated in front of an Administrative Law Judge, many cases are decided by the medical evidence presented. Such was the case in a recent victory I was able to secure for my client of long standing.
We had orthopedic testimony and neurosurgeon testimony as our star witnesses. As a general rule in these cases, all medical records must be considered but acceptance of an opinion is not required. The weight and credit to be given to expert testimony is a question “exclusively for decision by the fact finder, making the opinions of expert witnesses advisory and binding the fact finder (Judge) only to the extent to which credence is given to the opinion,” so said the Judge in my client's case.
So it is clearly up to the Judge to accept one expert over another.
These days it always seems that when I obtain quality medical evidence regarding my client's condition, the insurance company most always seeks a doctor who has a known reputation as a highly biased insurance company doctor.
They hope for some kind of compromise by doing so. All they really get as a result are two polarized opinions which requires me to present my case to the Judge for decision. It is very hard to compromise when the doctor/expert opinions are so far apart.
These types of disputes seem more common these days, reminding me of the polarization of our political system. As Bob Dylan said: “And there ain't no neutral ground,” in Slow Train Coming.
These types of cases do not lend themselves to neutral ground. You either win it all or lose it all. High stakes indeed. That is why I take every case quite seriously. Much depends on the judge's decision.