Home > QMEs, Tactics and Strategy > Yet Another Way to Get a Second Panel

Yet Another Way to Get a Second Panel

It’s hard to be a California Workers’ Compensation defense attorney and not become a little cynical.  After all, the California legislature dangles a carrot in front of you, and just as you’re about to bite, the Workers’ Compensation Judge, the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board, or even the higher-ups in the judicial branch yank it away.

At the moment, I’m brooding over the case of Denys-Peck v. Sonora Surgery Center.  There, applicant braved the workers’ compensation system alone, and ended up with a panel Qualified Medical Evaluator finding her various body parts either non-industrial or without a ratable impairment.

Applicant then called in the cavalry, and her attorney demanded a new panel.  Now, if you’re a regular reader of my humble post, you know that Labor Code § 4062.1 specifically prohibits an additional evaluation in cases where a formerly unrepresented applicant becomes represented after already having an evaluation.  Can’t you just taste that juicy carrot that the legislature is dangling?

Here is where the carrot gets yanked away.  Applicant and her attorney claimed cumulative trauma to the same body parts (and one more, the knees).  Then they demanded a new panel for the cumulative trauma.

The WCJ ruled and the WCAB affirmed that the applicant must return to the first QME for the specific injury but can have a new panel for the CT.

With the same body parts injured, the applicant effectively gets a second panel, now that she is represented.  Hopefully, an appeal will see this position adjusted – the legislature clearly expressed its hostility to QME shopping and repeat attempts at an evaluation.  Simply pleading the same body parts over a cumulative period to get a new QME flies in the face of the law.

For now, the best the defendant can do in this case is to minimize the damage dealt by the second panel.  Other than that, just sing the carrot song to make it all better.

Categories: QMEs, Tactics and Strategy
  1. Jessica
    August 16, 2011 at 7:05 am

    This could work great for D! Like my scenario where the AA gets a dumb chiro who one minute says no industrial then next gives 72% PD…. They amended for another CT dragging in another co-d, who has taken a Depo but haven’t been formally joined Bc WCIRB can’t figure out who the official carrier is Bc the company has multiple names! Anyway I was hoping this new CT can get a new AME or PQME! Thanks GG you are the best!

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