What is a State Panel Qualified Medical Evaluator (SPQME)?
A State Panel Qualified Medical Evaluator (SPQME) is a physician who has applied to the Department of Industrial Relations to be placed on a list of doctors who evaluate cases to provide the Court with what is supposed to be an “independent” assessment of your claim. This person will not be a treater in your case, but will comment upon the treatment and the legitimacy of your claim. Once a dispute over any medical opinion arises, either you, the insurance company or both may object to the disputed issues and request that the State issue a panel of 3 SPQME physicians. The SPQME is chosen from a list of three physicians chosen randomly by the State of California. This is a critical part of your case and choosing the right physician can make a huge impact on your claim’s value and your right to benefits. Contact TURCHIN LAW immediately if you have been notified of your right to request a SPQME or if the process has already been initiated by the insurance company.
If the SPQME List is generated before you obtain an attorney, you have the right to choose whichever the three physicians from your list to be the person to evaluate you and provide the independent opinion. It is strongly advised that you contact Turchin Law as soon as possible once the List is requested and certainly once it is received as we can provide you with our opinions on which of the three doctors to choose to evaluate you and your medical condition.
Once you are represented by an attorney, the SPQME List is generated by the State and still includes a list of three available physicians to act as the Panel doctor. Please note, however, that when you have an attorney, you have the right to strike one doctor from the Panel while the employer for its insurance company has the right to strike another of the three doctors leaving the last remaining physician to act in the capacity of the Panel QME. Again, having an attorney with a strong knowledge of the physicians who practice in this area of the law will greatly benefit the overall benefit of your case.