One of the more common questions that arise during the process of disability cases is “Can an administrative law judge reject my medical records?” Well, the answer is yes, to a certain extent. It usually depends on the amount and strength of medical evidence you have received from your doctor. 

Let’s take a look at a hypothetical scenario that will best illustrate this situation. Let’s say Dr. Smith is your primary care physician and we have all of the medical evidence and all of Dr. Smith’s medical records, all of the reports that they have gathered, and all of the studies, and all of the blood work, all of the x-rays, all of that. It’s all in their file. All of that is evidence in your case. Then, Dr. Smith says that they are willing to give their opinion about whether this patient is disabled or if this patient is able to work. Dr. Smith says “I believe that this patient cannot work due to this, this, and this.” Then, the judge will accept the medical findings, the measurable findings. The physical examples within the findings will be accepted. What the judge does not need to accept is the opinion from your doctor on whether or not you can work. The judge’s job is to determine for themselves whether or not you are able to work. The judge can reject the opinion of your doctor while at the same time accepting and understanding that these are the findings your doctor had made every time you went in. 

Objective vs Subjective

The judge is looking for objective findings, such as your temperature, your pulse, your respirations, what your breathing sounds like, what your heart sounds like, your range of motion in your joints, etc. Those are the objective findings, as opposed to something like your degree of pain. That is what would be referred to as a subjective finding. You cannot measure that with an X-ray or an MRI. You can only measure that with what you’re telling the doctor. So, those more subjective findings may or may not be accepted by the judge depending on the entirety of the evidence. So, there is a lot of evaluation that goes on but what you need to remember is that the judge does not need to accept opinions on whether or not you are able to work or not. The judge CAN accept it if the objective evidence supports the opinion of your doctor or yourself. 

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