Q: In massachusetts workman's compensation cases , how vital is collection of medical records?
What role does the independent doctor have as far as determining liability?
Medical records are EVERYTHING in a workers' comp case! They provide nearly all the confirmation that an event occurred that caused an injury, the proposed course of treatment, and the expected outcome of that treatment. With that information, both the Dept. of Industrial Accidents (the Workers' Comp. Board in Massachusetts), the insurance carriers and the attorneys can figure out what your diagnosis, whether you are disabled (and to what extent), and whether it was related to your work.
"Independent" doctors hired by the insurance companies attempt to answer many of these questions. I put "independent" in quotes though because they are not truly independent. They are typically hired by the insurance companies to help figure out their liability. They tend to be very conservative and, unsurprisingly, tend to favor the insurance. However, their exams are mandatory. If you fail to appear, then your claim can be closed. On the plaintiff's (injured workers') side of the equation, we see them as red flag warnings. If you haven't already done so, you should probably speak to a lawyer as it means the insurance is looking for a way to get out of liability.
Hope that helps!
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