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Who does the Judge listen to? Treating versus IME doctors in New Jersey.

In New Jersey, treating physicians’ opinion are given more weight than an IME physicians’ or records reviewers‘ when the treating physician has seen and treated the claimant on multiple occasions.

The New Jersey Supreme Court instructs that when Judges of Compensation review conflicting medical opinions in a workers’ compensation case,

“…opposing medical opinions cannot be considered apart from the factual framework of the entire case. Their probative force must be evaluated by a number of factors. In the process of evaluation, a criterion of recognized significance is the greater opportunity of a treating physician, as compared with a doctor who conducts a single examination in order to become an expert medical witness, to know, understand and decide upon the producing cause of the patient’s condition.”

Bober v. Independent Plating Corp, 28 N.J. 169, 168 (1958), citing Fusco v. Cambridge Piece Dyeing Corp., 135 N.J.L. 160, 162 (E. & A. 1947).

Of course, the treating physician’s opinion can be challenged as contradicted by other evidence, based on subjective complaints, etc., but generally speaking, the Judges of Compensation afford more weight to treating rather than examining doctors.

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For more than 20 years we have represented insurance carriers, self-insured employers, third party claim administrators, and employers before New Jersey’s Division of Workers’ Compensation. Our founding partner, Gregory Lois, is co-author of the LexisNexis “Practice Guide to Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey” (2017, ISBN:9781632838735) and served as Law Clerk to Hon. Joan Mott, Administrative Supervisor of Workers Compensation.

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