Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

The Importance of Your Treating Physician


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In a Social Security Disability case, one of the most important pieces of evidence is the medical records provided by your treating physician. Your treating physician is generally given great weight by the Administrative Law Judge hearing your case because his/her opinions are considered highly relevant based upon the longstanding treating history for your conditions.

But just how important is your treating physician? The United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama re-affirms the importance of a claimant's treating physician by remanding a recent case where the Administrative Law Judge ignored the records and opinions of a claimant's doctor.

In Reaves v. Astrue, 2013 WL 1834016, the Federal District Court remanded a case back to the Administrative Law Judge for failing to comply with controlling law in the 11th Circuit. In the opinion the court stated, "The law in this circuit is well established that the Commissioner must accord the opinions of the treating physician with substantial or considerable weight." Id. at 20, emphasis added.

Establishing a treating doctor for your medical conditions helps in dual aspects: first, your medical conditions get treatment from a familiar doctor. Second, the longstanding treatment record you create by seeing your doctor on a regular basis heightens the weight given to your doctor's records and opinions. The increased amount of weight to your doctor's opinions will certainly help your Social Security Disability case.

The law the Federal District Court cited to is the same applied in throughout Alabama and Florida. Therefore, you are doing yourself great favors by establishing and cultivating a strong patient/physician relationship. Solid, longstanding medical evidence is a tool an experienced Social Security Disability attorney can use to assist you in getting the benefits you deserve.

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