Will my doctor testify in my Pennsylvania workers’ comp case?

When an injured worker in Pennsylvania is denied workers’ compensation benefits, they must file a Claim Petition seeking wage loss and medical benefits afforded under the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act.  Once the claim is filed, then the case is in workers’ compensation litigation. One question I am frequently asked by an injured worker is besides their own testimony, what other evidence must be presented in litigation?

An injured worker must prove that an injury in fact happened, that it was caused by the work injury, and the disability from work is a result of the work injury. That is done with medical evidence. Can an injured workers just submit medical records as their medical evidence?

The answer is — it depends.  If the period of disability (time out of work) is less than 52 weeks, medical evidence can be submitted in the form of medical records and/or medical narrative report.  However, if the period of disability is 52 weeks or longer, or it is unknown how long the period of disability will last, then Workers’ Comp Act provides that parties can object to written medical evidence on the basis of hearsay.  If a hearsay objection is made by the opposing party, and in reality it will likely be objected to, then the doctor’s testimony must be taken. This is done through a deposition.

A deposition of the doctor usually takes place at the doctor’s office. Present for the deposition is the doctor, the injured worker’s attorney, the attorney for the insurance carrier/employer, and a court reporter. It is extremely rare for a doctor to testify live before a Workers’ Compensation Judge. These depositions can last from 1 hour to 2 hours, and rarely even more, depending on the complexity of the case. The doctor’s testimony includes direct examination from the injured worker’s attorney and cross examination from the opposing attorney. Medical testimony quite frankly can make or break a case. Once the doctor deposition is done, the transcript of the testimony is then uploaded as medical evidence for the case.
Finally, the injured worker’s doctor does not provide testimony on behalf of the injured worker for free. Most doctor deposition fees range from as low as $1500 to as high as $5000. A typical doctor deposition fee is around $3000.

If you have been injured at work, contact Mooney Law for an absolutely free phone or in-person consultation. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars in workers’ compensation benefits for injured workers all over Pennsylvania. Doctor depositions are a frequent occurrence for our practice. Medical evidence is so important to a denied claim. Mooney Law is trial tested, proven and experienced in fighting for injured workers. Call today at 717-200-HELP or 717-632-4656. You can also email us at info@mooney4law.com to schedule a free consultation. Visit Mooney Law on the web.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.