Recently, I had three cases with the same Deputy Commissioner. All these cases contained a similar problem. The claimant had “not” clearly mentioned his injury in the early medical records. For example, in one case John Doe had said he had lumbar and abdominal pain. This complaint appeared in the “histories” taken by the first four medical providers who saw him. John Doe claimed he had also mentioned “neck” and “left arm” pain to these providers. None of the health care providers had recorded these complaints in their histories. Later, after John Doe developed leg heaviness, a doctor ordered a cervical MRI which revealed a herniated disc. Instead of a hearing, John Doe’s case was set for a mediation. At that proceeding the Deputy Commissioner gave us a “confidential” evaluation of John Doe’s case. She said despite the MRI if John Doe’s case went to a hearing she would have to decide against John Doe. She said the lack of “neck complaints” early on in his case was a problem that could not be overcome. She could not connect John Doe’s neck problem to his accident due to this omission is his medical histories.

Seeing the handwriting on the wall, we decided to “settle” John Doe’s case and not go ahead with a hearing.