Why Do I Need to Have a Doctor’s Deposition in a PA Work Comp Case?

I’m sure you were told by someone that you need or should have your treating doctor testify or their deposition be taken in your PA Workers’ Comp case and you are not sure why this is needed.

First, a review of the law. The Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act says that the deposition of a doctor must be taken where the case involves a year or more off work. This comes up in two situations:

  1. Where the injured worker files a Claim Petition and disability ( time off work) will be more than a year, or
  2. Where the WC Insurance Company/Employer files a Petition for Termination.

What is a deposition? Its an actual Worker’ Compensation court hearing held in the doctor’s office. The Doctor is sworn in by the Court Reporter, just like in a courtroom. The lawyer for the Injured Worker and the lawyer for the Employer/Insurance Company each ask questions. The whole conversation of questions and answers are written up in a transcript by the court reporter and given to the WC Judge as an official exhibit.

How much do depositions cost? That is up to the doctor; there is no law or regulation which tells a doctor what they can charge for a deposition in Workers’ Compensation cases. In Central PA, depositions are in the $1,500 to $3,000 range; plus the cost of the court reporter.

Why is it a good idea to take a deposition of your doctor? Because a deposition allows the doctor to explain in detail the history, the examination, the results of tests, consultations with other doctors and then give their opinions on the nature and extent of disability. The doctor can also discuss the opinions of opposing IME doctor hired by the WC insurance company and explain why they are wrong. Also, Doctors are busy people. Sometimes, their reports and letters are written by an assistant or nurse and that won’t happen in a Work Comp deposition. There the doctor in person explains the whole medical picture.

Will an Injured Worker get their money back that they spent on a deposition? Yes, if their case is won in front of the Workers’ Compensation Judge or the case settles and the cost is negotiated into the settlement.

Do you have additional questions about your Workers’ Compensation case; or you have recently been injured on the job and are having difficulties with your worker’s compensation benefits? If so, contact the team at Calhoon and Kaminsky P.C., at 1-877-291-9675 for answers to your questions and a Free Case Evaluation.