- Explain how to be far more persuasive to a workers’ compensation judge;
- Discuss the nuances and hidden pitfalls of serving as a medical expert in workers’ compensation cases;
- List techniques to form more defensible opinions on key workers’ compensation issues such as causation, impairment, medical necessity, IMEs, and disability;
- Explain how to write more persuasive and defensible expert witness reports in workers’ compensation cases;
- Effectively deal with legal terms of art which are specific to comp cases and can often trip up experts (e.g. "major contributing cause", "aggravation", "MMI", etc.); and
- List numerous techniques to cost effectively market your expert witness practice to workers’ compensation attorneys.
OVERVIEW OF TOPICS
Workers' Compensation Overview
A quick overview of the workers’ compensation system will be provided including the issues of causation, compensability, impairment, medical treatment, permanency and return to work. Also included will be an explanation of the administrative nature of comp cases and how comp cases differ from tort cases litigated in court.
What Judges Use to Determine the Credibility of Medical Experts and their Testimony
Participants will be provided with the criteria used by workers’ compensation judges/commissioners in determining the credibility, weight, and persuasiveness of expert medical testimony. Faculty will discuss reputation, demeanor, grasp of the history and work duties, mechanism of injury, scientific basis, use of medical literature, the medical report as well as important intangible factors.
Causation: Forming Defensible Opinions and Defending These While Testifying
The faculty will review the various causation thresholds and provide best practices for obtaining an accurate understanding of the facts, mechanism of injury/illness, prior medical history, pre-existing and comorbid conditions, and testifying effectively on the issue of causation.
Impairment: Forming Defensible Opinions and Defending These While Testifying
Opinions regarding permanent impairment are full of hidden pitfalls such as using the correct guidelines, conditions not covered in guidelines, deviating from the guidelines, and apportioning prior impairments. You will learn how to form more defensible impairment opinions and defend these while testifying.
Disability and Work Restrictions: Forming Defensible Opinions and Defending These While Testifying
The benefits available to a workers’ compensation claimant partially depend on the claimant’s ability to work. Attendees will learn how to form more defensible opinions in this area and defend these while testifying and will be provided practical advice for dealing with issues such as FCEs, vague job descriptions, light work, work attempts, medical restrictions and limitations, and suitability of employment.
Independent Medical Evaluations: Forming Defensible Opinions and Defending These While Testifying
Participants will learn how to form more defensible opinions from IMEs and defend these while testifying and will be provided practical advice for dealing with issues such as the length of the examination, surveillance, subjective findings, symptom magnification, malingering, bias, cherry picking, and treating v. IME physician issues.
Medical Necessity: Forming Defensible Opinions and Defending These While Testifying
What is and is not reasonable and necessary may be the subject of expert testimony. Participants will learn how to form more defensible opinions on medical necessity and defend these while testifying and will be provided practical advice for dealing with issues such as treatment outside of your specialty, commenting on suspected overtreatment, utilization review and treatment guidelines.
Writing the Excellent Expert Witness Report in Workers' Compensation Cases
Participants will learn best practices for writing reports in workers’ compensation cases including: formatting, review and analysis of medical and ancillary records, history taking and documenting the physical examination. Faculty will offer suggestions for experts to express more defensible opinions on causation, impairment, disability, necessity for medical care, devices and medication, rehabilitation and medical care.
Marketing Your Medical Expert Workers' Compensation Practice
Faculty will discuss what lawyers are specifically looking for in medical experts. Participants will be provided with numerous techniques for marketing their workers’ compensation medical expert practice including advertising, speaking, writing, blogging, websites and outreach to potential lawyers and insurance companies.