Medical Evidence

shutterstock_133644752Recently there seems to be a trend coming from the Appellate Courts giving great deference to a Trial Judge when interpreting the medical evidence within claims falling under the Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation and the Defense Base Act. In the past the Courts tended to look for substantial evidence by the Employer/Carrier either disputing the injuries or disputing an accident. It seems that most recent opinions are redefining substantial evidence to a lesser standard giving the Trial Judge great leeway in the Trial Court’s interpretation of the evidence. The Appellate Courts seem to not want to invade the role of the Trial Judge and now the Courts are saying that almost any fact is sufficient to raise doubt allowing the Judge great discretion in evaluating medical evidence. Based on the foregoing it is important that treating physicians recognize the need to be clear, specific, and detailed in their reports and their opinions in order to assist an injured worker in pursuing benefits under the Defense Base Act.