When a worker or employee suffers injury on duty, they seek the help of a legal consulting pro and are provided with a certain amount as compensation. This sum is a form of insurance that an employer provides to its employees in case they sustain any work-related injury or illness. However, to claim this insurance, the worker or employee must show medical evidence that the injury or illness was sustained on the job.
Any legal consulting expert representing the injured in a worker’s compensation case needs strong medical evidence and a stable argument to claim fair compensation for their client. In this blog, we will not only gain in-depth knowledge of the cruciality of medical evidence in worker’s compensation cases but also learn valuable insights and everything related to it.
Before we get started, you might want to read: 6 Important Touchstone For Good Paralegal Services
Medical Evidence: Introduction and Its Importance
Whenever a worker gets injured during duty, he or she is entitled to claim worker’s compensation that will help cover the cost of their treatment. But they will have to prove that the injury was acquired on the job or is a job-related injury or illness. It is important to provide solid evidence to protect the employer from false claims and unwarranted charges. Therefore, before claiming compensation, the worker must attain full medical evidence proving that they were injured on duty.
As per legal consulting professionals, this evidence must contain proper data, records, and documents accumulated from medical experts or facilities. This data will act as evidence during legal proceedings in a worker’s compensation claim case. This medical evidence will help a legal consulting expert to establish a link between the injury sustained and the workplace. It includes medical records such as diagnostic test results, treatment plans, doctor’s notes, expert opinions, and any other relevant medical documents that provide insight into the employee’s condition, prognosis, and necessary medical care.
Importance Of Medical Evidence
Identifying The Cause
The entire foundation of the worker’s compensation case is built on the cause of the illness or injury. Medical evidence will indicate the cause of the medical condition. This, in turn, will help the legal consulting professional in establishing a direct link between the injury and the workplace to prove that the injury occurred because of workplace causalities.
Determining the Extent of Injuries
To claim an accurate sum from the employer, one must know the extent of the injury. This means the bigger the medical condition is, the higher its cost of treatment will be and hence higher the claim.
Supporting the Claimant’s Case
A worker’s compensation case stands nowhere without solid medical evidence. In simple words, medical evidence helps legal consulting experts to make a strong case against the employer or the insurance carrier. Only substantial medical evidence can aid in counteracting any attempts to deny the claim or downplay the severity of the injuries.
What Are The Distinct Medical Evidence?
We already know that medical evidence is not only the foundation on which the entire worker’s compensation case is built but it also holds utmost importance throughout the case. The compensation depends on the type of injury sustained and the evidence. Different types of medical evidence can prove that the injury or sickness is caught on duty. These are:
- Medical records: Medical records are the documents that contain the diagnosis, treatment, and progression of the sickness or injury. It will contain all the details about the patient (employee), the injury sustained, prescribed treatment and medicines, and the therapy process.
- Doctor’s reports: Every doctor prepares a report on each patient. These reports contain data on the patient, their injury, and the treatment plan like medicines prescribed or therapies required. The report consists of the entire course of the injury from the start to the healing process until it’s healed.
- Diagnostic tests: This medical evidence is on-paper proof of the diagnosis. This means that a diagnostic test report confirms if the diagnosis is correct, and the extent of injury sustained. For example, x-ray, MRI, CT scan, etc.
Some of the other important medical evidences are:
- A document for the official opinion of the medical expert.
- Functional Capacity Evaluations (FCEs) will assess the physical capacity of the employee who sustained the injury.
- Whenever an individual cannot resume their previous job because of sickness or injury, they will require Vocational Rehabilitation Reports that will outline their potential and the terms of the transition process and the joining of a new job.
- To claim the insurance, the insurance company might ask for Independent Medical Examinations (IMEs) that will state impartial opinions regarding the injuries. These reports for generated by physicians who were not involved in the initial treatment.
Worker’s Compensation Case: Challenges
There are several challenges that a legal consulting pro will face in a worker’s compensation case. These are:
- Figuring out and proving (with evidence) the clear connection between the workplace and the injury sustained.
- A legal consulting pro will have to collaborate with a medical expert to understand and present the medical evidence.
- It will be difficult to prove the extent of the injury or sickness in case there are any latent effects.
- Another factor that makes it hard to prove the extent of injury is when the sustained injury interacts with pre-existing conditions, which in turn makes the existing conditions worse.
- The insurance company will very closely examine all the documents and proof to find loopholes, potential fraud, inconsistencies, or gaps in the claim. Hence the legal consulting pro will have to generate all the documents carefully and precisely double or triple-check them, if necessary, which can be tiresome.
Building a Strong Foundation
Building a robust worker’s compensation case can be tricky, considering several challenges that a legal consulting pro must face. You need a systematic approach and a few tricks up your sleeve will never hurt!
Start an Investigation Expeditiously
To build a strong base for your case, you need to carry out a thorough investigation of the injury and the surroundings in which it was sustained. It is best to conduct an investigation without any delay and try to gather as much evidence from the site as possible. You can collect witness statements, CCTV footage, reports of the incident, etc.
Collaborate With a Medical Expert
You need strong medical evidence to link the injury to the workplace. However, to do that, it is best to collaborate with a medical expert who will offer impartial opinions and reports that will help build a strong foundation for your case.
Being a legal consulting pro, you already know nothing is true until it’s on paper. This means, that to prove your claim, you need to gather all the important records, reports, evidence, and documents supporting your argument. This can include medical evidence, written witness testimony, etc.
Communication is The Key!
Make sure you maintain good communication with the medical experts, treating physicians, patients (employees), and other parties involved in the case. The line of communication should be free-flowing to maintain utmost transparency and make sure that the opponent does not stand a chance. An attorney will also have to ensure that their client is educated with all the information and is made aware of what to expect. Educate clients about the significance of adhering to prescribed treatments and attending all medical appointments.
Tips and Tricks
An attorney is the only one who holds persuasive power enough to win or lose the case in a worker’s compensation. To bolster your case, here are a few tips that might help:
- Develop a compelling argument
- Present your evidence, points, and statements.
- Always make sure to have at least one witness.
- Prepare a proper testimony for your expert witness.
- Present counterarguments based on available medical documentation.
- Double or triple-check all your points, arguments, and evidence, if necessary.
- Proficiently cross-examine the opposite party to uncover potential fraud, inconsistencies, or biases.
- Be prepared to counteract challenges to medical evidence, such as allegations of exaggeration, malingering, or pre-existing conditions.
A worker’s compensation case is not as simple as it sounds. There are several challenges and hurdles a legal consulting pro has to cross to build a strong case and win. Above everything, the entire case depends on documentation. Hence it is important to generate medical evidence supporting your arguments and to use them to counter the opposite party. In this blog, we have presented a brief guide for attorneys. This article will help you to understand the importance of medical evidence in a worker’s compensation case.