A woman called me with what sounded like a great case. She works in a job where she types all day and uses her hands. She got bilateral (both hands) carpal tunnel and has had surgery on each wrist. One of the surgeries didn’t go well and she can no longer work in her old job.
If this case was a winner it could be worth $200-300k, maybe more. Unfortunately it’s not a winner.
She had hired an attorney who told her that she had to use a certain doctor. I’m guessing that they are friends. The problem is that they doctor the attorney insisted she use regularly does IME exams for insurance companies and makes a lot of money that way. Essentially he gets paid a ton to say that carpal tunnel is not work related.
So if the doctor said typing caused carpal tunnel on this case, he could lose six figures in business every year. So he wrote a report which stated that the injured worker had a very serious carpal tunnel issue, but it was NOT in any way related to her job activities.
That’s the end of the case right there. Sure she has a right to try to get a different opinion, but no Arbitrator is likely to against the opinion of the treating doctor when it goes against you. It’s no different than the rare occasions that an IME doc finds against the insurance company.
This lawyer should have known that this would likely happen and never told his client to treat with that doctor. We, as a general policy, never insist clients treat with anyone. We’ll offer an opinion if you ask, but making you treat with someone can often lead to bad results. This is just one example of that.
Lawyers should add value. While in this case the lawyer clearly caused harm, it’s not unreasonable for them to be able to advise you if a doctor could hurt your case. In fact it’s one of the big reasons to hire an attorney soon after your injured.
In this case it was simply one of the biggest screw ups I’ve ever seen. And sadly it’s the client who has to suffer.
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