Andy Avram (Charlotte) recently prevailed on defense of a Form 23 Application for Reinstating Temporary Total Disability Benefits. Plaintiff had a severe nail wound to the foot complicated b diabetes and infection. Plaintiff was ultimately released to return to work without restrictions and benefits were terminated through the Form 24 process handled by Andy and Jerri Simmons (Charlotte).
Plaintiff requested a second opinion which was approved by the Carrier. The second opinion physician recommended orthotics and a return visit. He otherwise agreed with the treating physician. Orthotics and the return visit were authorized. However, on the return visit the second opinion physician held Plaintiff out of work. Plaintiff, through counsel, filed the Motion to Reinstate Benefits arguing Plaintiff was disabled as a result of the second opinion physicians work note.
Defendants argued the out of work note was not issued by the treating physician. Specifically, the return visit to the second opinion doctor and orthotics were approved so that the physician could complete the evaluation, but this physician had not become an authorized treating doctor. Further, Defendants argued that the treating physician had released the employee to work without restrictions and seen the employee on more occasions than the second opinion doctor. Thus, the treating doctor opinion should be given more weight. Furthermore, Defendants argued that in the case of conflicting opinions a Full Evidentiary hearing is required.
The Special Deputy Commissioner issued an Order denying the Form 23 Application holding that there was contradictory medical evidence and that benefits should not be reinstated through the administrative forum.
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