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Navarro: New Injury, New Panel QME

On October 2nd, 2017

The Court, in an en banc decision, held that where an injured worker sustains a new work related injury, he/she is not required to return to the same AME and/or QME's that were utilized to evaluate the prior injury. Navarro v. City of Montebello (2015, Appeals Board en banc) 79 Cal. Comp. Cases 418.

When the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board decides a case en banc, it becomes binding on the lower workers' compensation courts. While the Court's holding in Navarro does not mean an injured worker is entitled to a different AME or Panel QME for every date of injury they sustain, it does mean that an injured worker is not forever shackled to the same one for subsequent distinct injuries.

Many insurers attempt to preclude an injured worker from asserting this right to reduce the potential compensation due for an injury, an injured worker is usually wise to assert this right where applicable.

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