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In order to give expert medical testimony, the treating physician is in better position to express opinion as to cause and effect than the examining petitioner.

April 1, 2018
Staikos v. Fairview Board of Education, Docket No. A-0723-16T3, 2018 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 389 (App. Div., decided Feb. 21, 2018)

The Judge of Compensation discredited Dr. Halejian’s testimony (who evaluated the petitioner in anticipation of litigation) because it was based primarily on his review of records of other providers. However, it found Dr. Cole’s (with whom the claimant treated since his 2009 injury) credibility to be greatly enhanced because of his level of familiarity with the petitioner’s care, achieved during their lengthy treating relationship. The judge granted the petitioner’s motion and awarded him medical and temporary benefits. This appeal ensued.

In affirming the judge’s holding, the Appellate Division relied on DeVito v. Mullen’s Roofing Co., 72 N.J. Super. 233 (App. Div., 1962), where the court held, “It is generally recognized that a treating physician is in a better position to express an opinion as to cause and effect than one making an examination in order to give expert medical testimony.” Accordingly, the Appellate Division found sufficient credible evidence to support the Judge of Compensation’s ruling.


Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2018

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