Blog: What does degree of medical certainty mean

Reasonable Degree of Medical Certainty: What does it mean?

The concept of “Reasonable  Degree of Medical Certainty” is not a medical concept but rather , it is part of the legal framework for settling of claims . A similar “Reasonable Degree of Scientific Certainty” is used in scientific claims.

When a patient discusses a proposed procedure with a physician , they don’t say “ Well doc, will the procedure be successful to a reasonable degree of medical certainty?” . More likely they will ask “What are the odds that this procedure will be successful? ”

In the legal framework of the Independent Medical Examination , a “Reasonable  Degree of Medical Certainty” means more likely than not or , in numerical terms , a greater that 50 % (51% or greater) that the opinion expressed is a true reflection of the condition under consideration. As an IME physician, I use combination of the information provided by the history of injury, medical records, physical (or psychological in the case of my psychology colleagues) examination as well as my own  training and experience in offering  these opinions.

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