Preparation for testimony requires thoughtful and careful review of the facts and documents pertinent to your claim. A knowledgeable Denver disability attorney can help you with the pre-testimony work.
Medical history is, for the most part, established through your medical records. Most administrative law judges (ALJs) have read the medical records and will have their own notes before the hearing begins. This usually means that detailed testimony about your medical records will not be necessary. The medical records are important, however, for establishing that the disability condition existed for at least 12 months.
Because the Social Security Administration requires 12 months of disability, the emphasis in your testimony should be on the continuity of your impairment. Dramatic medical events, by themselves, are not adequate to demonstrate continuous disability. You should focus on the plateaus, not the peaks and valleys, of your disabled condition.
When it comes to offering testimony, every case is different. Even though some routine cases require only limited testimony, special care is needed in preparing to testify if the case involves unusual impairment(s), unusual pain treatment, or decoding unusually cryptic medical records. Be aware of the need to appropriately educate the ALJ.
Be prepared to respond to questions about medical history, including the following:
- Can you give us the date you injured your back at work?
- Did you ever return to work after the injury?
- Did your condition continue to get worse?
- Did you have additional medical examinations after your condition worsened?
- Can you tell us when you recovered from the immediate aftereffects of surgery?
- Can you give us a date when your doctor informed the worker’s compensation carrier that your condition had plateaued?
- Are your symptoms pretty much the same today as they were then?
Although as a rule, testimony about previous medical treatment should be kept to a minimum, you may be asked many questions about your current, on-going treatment. Any absence of ongoing treatment should be fully explained. Here are some things you may be asked about:
- Names of current treating physicians or other treating medical professionals.
- The specialty of each treating professional.
- Length of time of treatment for each treating professional.
- Frequency of treatment.
- Conditions treated by this professional.
- Description of the treatment.
- Has the treatment helped? How much?
- What medications are you currently taking? What is the frequency of usage, and the amount of each dose?
- Does your medication help? Are there side effects?
- If you are not receiving treatment or medication, why not?
It is a very good idea to consult frequently with your Denver disability attorney as you carry out this process. This will help assure that you make the best presentation possible of your case. If you do not already have legal representation, consider calling the law office of experienced Denver disability attorney John Cimino at 303-830-3545 to schedule a free initial consultation.