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A new study finds that the number of qualified medical evaluators that focus on workers’ compensation claims in California fell by 20 percent over a five-year period.
The staggering decline in the number of qualified medical evaluators in California is happening at a time when workers’ comp claims from employees who suffer on-the-job injuries are booming across the state.
Our Van Nuys workers’ compensation attorney at the Koszdin, Fields & Sherry law firm says that there are now less medical evaluators you can trust when seeking workers’ comp benefits after a workplace injury, which is why hiring a lawyer has become more important than ever.
The study was published by California Workers’ Compensation Institute, and analyzed workers’ compensation claims and the number of medical evaluators resolving such claims between January 2012 and September 2017.
The study noted that the average payment per medical-legal service declined in the first half of 2017 after climbing steadily for nearly a decade until 2014, and then become more or less steady in 2015 and 2016.
One of the factors contributing to the decline in the number of QMEs in California is that over 1,240 physicians discontinued their certification. Another factor is that California has been taking measures to crack down on medical evaluators who operate illegally, temper with evidence, and help clients obtain workers’ comp benefits through other illegal means.
Do the findings of the study mean that workers’ compensation claims are now more rare than a few years ago because employers learned their lesson and provide a safe work environment to more employees?
Not really. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, our best workers’ compensation attorneys in Van Nuys say. Statistics shows that there were nearly 2.9 million non-fatal on-the-job injuries and illnesses in 2016, nearly 900,000 of which were severe and required a prolonged period of time (ranging from a few days to months) away from work.
The number of workers’ compensation claims has been climbing in recent years, which stands in stark contrast to the declining number of QMEs in California.
The same study also found that the vast majority of workplace injury claims involve musculoskeletal injuries. That means orthopedists were particularly busy from 2012 to 2017, as they handled more than half of all med-legal services by evaluating cases of orthopedic injuries at work.
The study also noted that orthopedic surgeons, spine specialists or mental health specialists accounted for more than 70% of all medical evaluations relating to workers’ compensation claims.
Here at the Koszdin, Fields & Sherry law firm, our lawyers have heard clients complain about incompetent and unqualified medical evaluators providing them with illegal and unreasonable evaluations.
In some cases, these so-called “medical evaluators” simply rip off their clients and ride off into the sunset. In other cases, on the other hand, these evaluators can actually help you collect workers’ comp benefits by providing you with fake evaluations, tempering with medical documents, and through other illegal means.
While you will indeed receive compensation for your workplace injuries, you may face legal trouble for claiming workers’ comp benefits you weren’t entitled to. That’s why seeking the legal advice of a Van Nuys workers’ compensation lawyer is so vital.
The last thing you would want is your employer filing a lawsuit against you alleging that you stole money from his business by providing inaccurate information about your injuries or presenting fake evidence.
Consult our attorneys at the Koszdin, Fields & Sherry law firm to get a free consultation today. Call our offices at 818-812-5639 or (toll free) 800-747-3447 or complete this contact form.