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CJ Henry Law Firm, PLLC

What Is A Medical Expert?

  • Published: July 10, 2012

At some point before your disability hearing, you may receive a notice stating that a medical expert will be testifying.  Here is a brief explanation of what a medical expert is and the issues they commonly discuss in their testimony.  Your Ocala disability attorney can explain in detail what the medical expert in your case will be testifying about.

Neutral Witnesses

Medical experts are usually either doctors or psychologists.  They are intended to be neutral witnesses, meaning that they are neither “for” you nor “against” you.  Their job is to help the judge understand medical issues, specifically medical issues involving Social Security regulations.  Medical experts testify more often in mental impairment cases than in cases involving any other single impairment.

A medical expert’s testimony can sometimes be the key to winning your case but will rarely be the reason you lose your case.  This is because a medical expert’s testimony is typically used to demonstrate that your physical impairment meets or equals an impairment found in the Social Security’s “Listing of Impairments.”  Your Ocala disability attorney can provide a more detailed explanation regarding the purpose of the “Listing of Impairments.”

Reasons for a Medical Expert

If your Ocala disability attorney has informed you that a medical expert will be testifying at your hearing it probably means that one or more of the following has occurred:

  • The ALJ needs the medical expert’s opinion in order to determine whether your impairment meets the Listings at Step 3 of the sequential evaluation process.
  • The ALJ needs help in understanding a complicated medical issue in your case.
  • The ALJ needs the medical expert to assist her in determining the onset date of your disability because it is not clear.
  • The ALJ needs a medical expert to help her complete a required form such as the psychiatric review technique form.
  • The ALJ needs to know more about your residual functional capacity and only the medical expert can provide the necessary information.
  • The ALJ questions whether you failed to follow prescribed treatment that would permit you to work.

Different From Vocational Experts

The other type of expert that can be called at your hearing is a vocational expert.  Vocational experts testify in about three quarters of all hearings while medical experts testify in fewer than 20 percent.  Both can testify in person, by video or by phone.

If you are disabled and are interested in filing for Social Security disability benefits, contact CJ Henry for a free evaluation of your claim.

Claudeth Henry

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