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Dawn Atkin

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Medical Panels:
A Medical Panel is a panel of neutral doctors appointed by the Judge. These doctors do not work for either the insurance company or for the injured worker. They only work for the court. If there are medical disputes created by conflicting opinions in the medical records, the Judge sends a letter to the Medical Panel Chairman with the facts of the case, all medical records and the specific questions the Judge needs answered.

The Medical Panel Appointment:
The Medical Panel Chairman then calls the injured worker directly to schedule an appointment. By the time the Chairman calls, he has already arranged the schedules of the other doctors on the Panel. Therefore, it is important to accept the date the Chairman presents. Move other appointments or conflicts in order to attend the medical panel appointment.

The Medical Panel will read the entire medical exhibit and review the Findings of Fact written by the Judge. They will meet with the injured worker for an examination, but they will not discuss their decision at that time. They will submit a written report to the Judge. The Judge will send a copy of the report to all of the parties in the case.

Objections to the Medical Panel Report:
If there are errors in the report, an Objection to the Medical Panel Report can be filed.  The Judge sets the deadline for objections.  It is usually 20 days from the date the court sent the Medical Panel Report to the parties.

There has been some recent controversy in the news about Labor Commission medical panels. This is a serious, continuing problem. The attorneys at Atkin & Associates continue to work with various groups to correct the problem, as well as developing strategies for our clients who need to see a Medical Panel in the current system.

Because a Medical Panel is only requested when there is a medical dispute between your doctor and the insurance company doctor, one side or the other will always think the Medical Panel Report is wrong. Objections to the report based on the fact that it disagrees with the treating physician will fail.

If the Medical Panel failed to follow the facts outlined by the Judge in the Findings of Facts, or if the Medical Panel reaches legal conclusions they were not supposed to make, an objection can be filed. Although objections are often filed, legitimate objections are rare. At Atkin & Associates, we will not file frivolous objections, and will strongly fight any such objections filed by the insurance company.

Once the 20 days for objections has passed, the file is ready for an Order from the Judge.

__________________
K. Dawn Atkin
Attorney with Atkin & Associates
(801) 521-2552
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