Disability Lawyers in NC Discuss the Role of Medical Expert Witnesses at Your Hearing
If you are appealing a denial of SSDI benefits, contact experienced disability lawyers in NC with Bridgman Law Offices at 888-632-9912.
You may be required to appear for a Social Security disability hearing when you appeal the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) denial of your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim. Seasoned disability lawyers in NC have found that it is not uncommon for a medical expert (ME) to be called to testify at the hearing about your case and condition.
Unlike civil litigation, where medical experts’ opinions are biased towards the retaining party’s position, in a disability hearing, the ME is independent and neutral. The ME will not be your treating physician, will not be retained by your disability lawyers in NC, and does not usually work for the SSA.
The ME helps the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to understand medical issues, particularly those involving Social Security regulations. The ME may testify about:
- Whether you have a medically determinable impairment. You must prove your underlying cause (diagnosis) and existence of your symptoms. When medical records are unclear, are complicated or when your doctors provide different diagnosis, an ME may help the ALJ clarify what your underlying conditions have been and currently are.
- Whether your impairment meet or equal a “Listing Level Impairment” as defined by SSA. Your case may be quickly approved if an ME testifies that your impairment meets or has the same limitations as a listing level impairment.
- Your limitations. From all the evidence submitted and developed in your case, an ME may provide a new opinion regarding your limitations.
- Your onset date. The ME may be asked to estimate how far back your limitations existed to determine whether back pay should be granted.
- Your prognosis. To obtain benefits, your disabling condition must have or be expected to last for at least 12 months. If you have not experienced your limitations for 12 months, then the ME may opine how long your limitation may continue.