In this video, workers’ compensation attorney Michael Burgis discusses how you should utilize labor code 4605, and exponentially increase your probability of success in death due to industrial causation cases.
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If you or a loved one is dealing with an unfortunate death that you believe is due to industrial causation, or you’re an attorney litigating this case, I want to give you a very important tip that most people don’t know. Labor code 4605. I’m going to explain how you should utilize this and exponentially increase your probability of success.
Hi, my name is Michael Burgess. I’m the managing attorney of MB&A. I’m a certified legal specialist in California workers’ compensation and I’m a trial attorney.
Now, let me lay some foundation. First off, there are two types of reports in workers’ compensation in California: treating physician and basically what’s called med legal evaluations, or panel qualified medical examiners, or agreed medical examiners. Essentially, neutral doctors. Treating physician reports are admissible. Neutral doctors are admissible.
Those are the reports and evidence you have to prove industrial causation.
Now there’s an inter vivos case that can turn into a death case. That means there’s an industrial injury but the person is alive. You file a claim, they see a treating physician and they subsequently pass.
Well in that case I can get that treating physician to address industrial causation and serve that to the neutral doctors. But what happens if the industrial injury itself causes the death and there’s no treating physicians? Well, most attorneys will just roll the dice with a neutral doctor and hope that that doctor links it.
But I like to be proactive versus reactive. And you got to understand a little bit of the construct here. These neutral doctors, especially difficult cases like heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms, things like that, they’re very hesitant to link. So if I just roll the dice, the probability of success is going to be relatively slim. However, what if I have a medical report breaking down exact facts, causation analysis, and is already packaging it?
And then I serve that to that neutral doctor along with the rest of the reports. Well, now there’s a road map for the doctor to, essentially, basically you’re spoon feeding them. This exponentially increases the probability that they will link the case. You’ve done the job for them. You make it unbelievably easy and they can save face. It’s like, ‘I’m not the only one leaking this heart attack. Somebody already did it and it makes sense’.
So it’s very important, again, to be proactive versus reactive. And most firms, in fact all firms should do this, and I’m unaware of any firms that are actually doing this.
Now, I also want to caution the viewers here that it’s a double-edged sword here, and there’s a few things that you can do that can harm you here. First, labor code 4605, and in subsequent case law, establishes that you can’t utilize this report solely as the basis for the award, and you can’t use that report solely to rebut a neutral doctor.
So, it’s very important to do it on the front end before they’ve issued their decision, because if they issue an adverse decision and then you go try to self-procure, it likely won’t be admissible, because you’re using it to rebut that doctor.
So again, it’s important to do the work on the front end, not the back end.
Now imagine your attorney did all this for you, took care of all of it, and increased that probability of finding industrial causation 10 times over. That is what all firms should do. That’s why I’m a huge advocate for labor code 4605.
If you have any questions or concerns, or you’re represented by an attorney who is not self-procuring medical reporting and is just rolling the dice on a neutral doctor, give us a call. You have questions, we have answers and we’re here to help.
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