If your case is going to have to have a hearing, then you and your lawyer will need to gather all the necessary evidence to defend against a workers’ compensation claim. In some case, this may mean an expert witness will be used by you or maybe by your opponent. An expert witness is a witness who has a specialized set of knowledge about one of the elements of the case. This specialized knowledge allows the witness to provide insight and analysis that cannot be provided by a witness who does not have the particular training or knowledge base.
One type of expert witness commonly seen in workers’ compensation cases is those experts that provide medical opinions. Clearly when there is a work-related injury, it may be necessary for a doctor or other medical professional to provide an opinion about the extent and nature of the worker’s injury. The doctor is uniquely suited to provide this information because he or she has the training and understanding required to provide information about complicated medical diagnoses. Any doctor who has provided medical care to the worker may be called upon to provide expert reporting. The assessments by the medical professionals may provide important information about the nature and degree of the worker’s disability and impairment level.
In addition to the impairment level, a doctor or medical professional may also provide an expert opinion on whether the injury is actually work-related. By examining a worker and reviewing past medical records, the medical professional may provide essential evidence as to whether a worker is being truthful about the connection of his injury to the alleged work-related injury.
Either the employee or the employer may also call a vocational expert to testify. A vocational expert’s job is to examine the worker and provide an opinion about the worker’s ability to return to work and earn a living. If the injury is so severe that the worker may be prevented from returning to the same earning capacity, the vocational expert will also need to testify as to that issue. A vocational expert will consider a number of issues, including the worker’s education, work experience, physical limitations, and the job market.
These are just a few examples of the types of expert witnesses who may be utilized at a workers’ compensation hearing. If you have a question about your case and your witnesses, contact me today at (714) 516-8188. We can discuss your business and the pending claim.