Recommendations for Expedited Hearings on Medical Treatment Issues
We have noted in recent months that WCLJs have been strictly enforcing the requirement on Board Notices of Hearing regarding the scheduling of depositions in cases involving medical treatment issues. Specifically, WCLJs are precluding employers and carriers from scheduling depositions on these treatment issues when no attempts have been made to complete the deposition prior to the initial expedited hearing on the issue.
If you receive a Notice of Expedited Hearing on a medical treatment issue, that Notice will usually contain language directing the parties to complete depositions prior to the hearing. If that is the case, we strongly recommend that you contact defense counsel to review the file to determine if a deposition should be scheduled.
More often than not we do not recommend deposition testimony, particularly if the treatment at issue involves physical therapy or chiropractic care or where the attending physician didn’t meet his or her burden of proof in making the treatment request. But in those cases involving surgery requests or other expensive forms of treatment, it may be advisable to depose the treating physician.
Given the short period of time between the issuance of the Notice of Hearing and the date of the expedited hearing, having the deposition completed before the hearing is usually impossible. Some WCLJs are more lenient than others with this, but at the very least we recommend at least getting these depositions scheduled before the hearing in those cases where it is advisable to do so. This shows diligence in complying with the Board's direction and we can submit an affirmation requesting an extension showing the doctor's inability to participate in a deposition prior to the hearing. This allows us to protect the record for a potential appeal.
If you have any questions regarding a Notice of Expedited Hearing on a medical treatment issues, please do not hesitate to contact any of our attorneys.