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Appeals Panel No. 141644 (Decided 09/29/2014)

Posted: Dec 19, 2014
Comments: 0

Overcoming the Desiginated Doctor's Opinion as to MMI & IR

Facts

 

The claimant testified that he felt a pop in his back when he jumped from the back of a truck while at work.  The carrier accepted as compensable a lumbar sprain. 

 

Issues

 

Has the claimant reached MMI and, if so, what is the impairment rating?


Evidence

 

A designated doctor, Dr. W, certified that the claimant reached MMI on May 1, 2013, with a five percent IR.  However, Dr. W’s DWC 69 does not contain his signature.

 

CCH D&O

 

The hearing officer found that the date of maximum medical improvement (MMI) is May 1, 2013, and that the claimant’s impairment rating (IR) is five percent based on Dr. W’s certification.

 

AP Decision

 

The AP reversed the hearing officer's determinations that the claimant's MMI date is May 1, 2013, and that the claimant's IR is five percent, and remanded the issues of MMI and IR to the hearing officer for further action because Rule 130.1(d)(1) provides that a certification of MMI and assignment of an IR for the compensable injury requires the “completion, signing, and submission of the [DWC-69] and a narrative report.  Therefore, Dr. W’s certification is not valid.

 

Lesson

 

If you are trying to beat a DD report, check to make sure the DWC 69 is signed by the DD; otherwise, the certification is not valid.
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