The Importance of Due Diligence on Workers’ Compensation Matters
When you assign the handling of a workers’ compensation matter, it is imperative that the law firm handling the matter properly investigates the claim before proceeding to a causal relationship and/or permanency evaluation examination and definitely before engaging in settlement negotiation. The handling law firm, when applicable, should be obtaining the following: all authorized medical records, all unauthorized medical records, an ISO search claims report (lists all reported claims), run New Jersey Courts On-Line for any other workers’ compensation claim petitions, signed medical authorization(s) for any prior or subsequent accidents or claims, social security earning form, certified answers to occupational exposure interrogatories, certified answers to re-opener interrogatories, primary care doctors’ records, recent and past hospital emergency room visits, video surveillance, witness testimony, co-workers’ testimony, communicate with client (a must), and third-party settlement(s).
The law firms handling your matter(s) and again depending of the specific facts of each case, should be making recommendations for reputable treating doctors, for reputable medical expert evaluation doctors as to need for treatment, causal relationship, and/or permanent disability, surveillance, social media investigation, offer to draft cover letter(s) to doctors for medical evaluations, assigning a case nurse manager, and when appropriate obtaining a second medical expert opinion.
The lists above are not meant to be inclusive and depending on the specifics of the claim petition can be extended or narrowed down. When a subsequent accident involving the same body part(s) may achieve a Section 20 dismissal or a dismissal without payment on a workers’ compensation claim, it is of most importance having discovered that subsequent accident and obtaining those records for it. When a prior accident to petitioner’s same body part(s) may not cut-off liability under an Order Approving Settlement, but it will afford you a substantial or even nominal savings credit, it is again imperative that your attorney secures that for you. Our firm carefully investigates all workers’ compensation matters and achieves the best possible outcome for our clients.