By Stuart D. Colburn, Shareholder, Downs Stanford
The Claimant sustained a compensable injury in the course and scope of his employment. DWC selected a designated doctor for MMI/IR, but not for extent. The Designated Doctor certified maximum medical improvement with a 0% impairment rating. DWC sent a letter of clarification (LOC) to the Designated Doctor asking for alternate certifications: one for a cervical sprain/strain and the other for cervical disk herniations. The Designated Doctor noted Claimant did not complain of any neck pain for approximately one year and refused to change his opinion. In response to additional LOC’s, the Designated Doctor provided an alternate certification.
The Appeals Panel held the Designated Doctor was only appointed for purposes of MMI/IR. Therefore, the Designated Doctor’s opinion regarding extent of injury was not entitled to presumptive weight. However, the Designated Doctor’s opinion regarding extent could be medical evidence considered by the Hearing Officer even if it was not entitled to presumptive weight.
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