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Medical Expert Witnesses

On Behalf of Christian Ayers
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Occasionally, a Judge will ask an independent doctor to testify at a social security disability hearing. This is done either in person or on a conference call. Questioning the medical expert is a matter for your attorney to handle. It has been my experience that it is often possible to obtain favorable testimony from these witnesses that helps rather than hurts the case. The key is being familiar with the medical evidence so that the right kind of questions can be asked. Most social security disability hearings will involve use of a vocational expert or VE. The vocational expert will respond to hypothetical questions from the Judge and from your attorney which relate to the availability or unavailability of jobs based on certain restrictions. The key to obtaining helpful vocational expert testimony is usually based on the functional limitations indicated by your treating doctors. For example, if your doctor says that you need to lie down and occasionally elevate your legs at or above waist level for 20-30 minutes several times throughout the day, VE will testify that no jobs will allow this type of interruption of the work schedule. A competent attorney is aware of the various methods used to provide similar types of evidence that can be used in cross examination.