The importance of medical and vocational testimony

Michigan workers compensation lawyer explains how depositions of expert witnesses can make or break your case at trial.

Sometimes the only option available is trial. This is a formal hearing where a magistrate makes a determination about the facts and law. One side is going to win and the other will lose.

Both sides get a chance to tell their story to the judge. Witness testimony is taken under oath and recorded. Medical records may be offered as exhibits.

Deposition transcripts from doctors and vocational experts are also submitted. This is perhaps the most important part of your case.

Medical deposition

This is when your doctor has a chance to testify on your behalf. Questions about your medical history and treatment will be asked. The doctor must give an opinion within a reasonable degree of medical certainty about what is causing your current medical problems. The doctor must also testify about any restrictions that are needed should you return to work.

The insurance company will also submit its own medical deposition. Testimony is usually taken from the doctor who performed the independent medical evaluation (IME). These insurance company doctors usually find that a person is fully recovered or that current medical problems are not work related.

Vocational deposition

Changes in Michigan’s workers compensation law make vocational testimony very important. Insurance companies can now use a hypothetical “wage earning capacity” to reduce lost wages.  This means your benefits can be cut just because the insurance company says you can work. Vocational experts who are hired by the insurance company will testify about transferable skills and perform a labor market survey showing available jobs.

It is critical that you obtain your own vocational expert to offer a different opinion. Insurance companies routinely overstate a person’s ability to find alternate employment and earn wages. You can offer your own labor market survey showing that no work is available within your restrictions.

Don’t fight alone

You cannot win at trial unless you have expert testimony. Specific questions must be asked to prove disability and work relationship. Sometimes your doctor will not support your case and you must get your own IME.

Call (855) 221- 2667  to speak with a Michigan workers compensation lawyer.  Our law firm has over 100 years of combined experience and we know what it takes to win.

Alex Berman is the founder of the law firm. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 30 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

Related information:

Why your “wage earning capacity” matters under Michigan workers compensation

07/01/2013
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