The Role of Expert Witnesses in a Workers’ Compensation Case

Published on Aug 25, 2023 at 7:28 pm in Workers Compensation.

The Role of Expert Witnesses in a Workers’ Compensation Case
You were injured at work, and now you need help making ends meet and paying your medical bills. So why was your workers’ comp claim denied?

If you’re still fighting for the benefits you know you’re owed, it’s time to learn more about the role of expert witnesses in a workers’ compensation case. This could be the component that’s missing from your claim.

Key Takeaways

  • An expert witness can provide knowledgeable testimony based on their unique field or profession.
  • There are rules you must follow when relying on the testimony of an expert witness.
  • Your workers’ compensation claim can be strengthened by an expert witness.

What Is an Expert Witness?

So what is an expert witness? In a workers’ compensation case, “an expert witness is a person with extensive experience or knowledge in a specific field or discipline beyond that expected from a layperson.”

These are individuals who have specific knowledge in specialized fields. Because of their knowledge and experience within their respective job, department, or area of study, they have the ability to assess information and come to a reasonable conclusion. Maryland workers’ compensation cases sometimes rely on the careful and thoughtful testimonies of expert witnesses.

Types of Expert Witnesses That Testify in Workers’ Compensation Cases

Types of expert witnesses that may provide helpful testimony for a workers’ compensation case include:

  • Medical experts
  • Forensic scientists
  • Financial experts
  • Accident reconstruction specialists
  • Engineers

Not every workers’ compensation claim or appeal requires the support of an expert witness, and those that do may only need to rely on the testimony of one or two professionals. If you believe that your claim could be best supported by working with an expert witness, be sure to bring your concern up to your attorney. It is likely that they have expert witnesses that they know, trust, and regularly partner with.

The Purpose of Relying on Expert Witnesses for a Workers’ Compensation Case

In an ideal world, an injured employee would never have to fight their employer or the insurance company to receive the benefits to which they are rightfully entitled. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. In an effort to save money, valid workers’ compensation claims are frequently denied.

The top 10 most common reasons cited for workers’ comp claim denials are:

  1. Lack of medical evidence for injury
  2. No injury according to the statutory definition
  3. Reservation of rights (a claim not covered under the policy)
  4. Pre-existing condition
  5. Idiopathic condition (condition of unknown origin)
  6. Violation related to drug or alcohol use
  7. A condition brought on by non-work stress
  8. Failure to report an accident or injury within the time limit
  9. The victim doesn’t fall under the statutory definition of an employee
  10. Misrepresentation

If you applied for workers’ compensation benefits but were denied, you have the right to appeal. You’ll need to build an even stronger case the second time around, though. An expert witness can evaluate your claim and the reason for the denial and provide their expert opinion on why the reason for the denial was incorrect.

For especially complex claims, you and your lawyer may even decide to bring an expert witness in when filing an initial claim. This step can be important if:

  • There were no eyewitnesses to your accident
  • The exact cause of your injuries or illness is in question
  • You were off the clock at the onset of your first symptom
  • Your injuries were caused in part by a third party

Working with an expert witness can be an excellent way to build strong, solid support for your workers’ compensation claim. Because when you’ve been injured, the only thing you should be focusing on is resting and recovering.

Rules for Having an Expert Witness Testify

Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 14.09 covers the rules and requirements for having an expert witness testify on your behalf in court. Requirements are as follows:

  1. If the expert witness is any professional other than a vocational rehabilitation counselor, you must obtain prior approval from the Chairman.
  2. You must submit a written letter outlining why oral testimony from your expert witness is necessary, rather than the typical documentary evidence used in these types of claims.
  3. You must pay for any fees associated with the appearance and testimony of your expert witness.
  4. Fees for testimony provided by vocational rehabilitation counselors are paid by the employer or their insurer.

If you fail to obtain permission from the Chairman or do not submit a written statement explaining the need for testimony, your expert witness will not be permitted to testify on your behalf.

Securing the Workers’ Compensation Benefits You Need

Workers who have been injured on the job or who have developed chronic illnesses related to their years of work are regularly faced with denial after denial when trying to qualify for the benefits they need.

This isn’t right, and you deserve better.

Whether you’re about to file for workers’ compensation benefits for the first time or you’ve already been denied once or more, we can help. Belsky & Horowitz, LLC is a Maryland law firm with a strong focus on advocating for our clients.

It is our belief that every victim deserves the best possible chance at recovery. When supporting that outcome involves relying on an expert witness in a workers’ compensation case, we work to partner with the best possible individual for the job.

To learn more about your rights after a workplace injury, please fill out our online form or call our office to schedule a completely free, no-obligation case evaluation. A Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer from our firm is ready to speak with you.



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