Treating-Physician Rule Law and Legal Definition

Treating physician rule is a principle that in assessing the medical evidence supporting a claim for disability benefits of a social-security claimant, the administrative-law judge should give greater deference to the opinions of treating physicians than to the opinions of non-treating physicians. The treating physician's diagnoses and findings are binding on an administrative-law judge in the absence of substantial contrary evidence. The rationale behind the rule is that treating physicians are likely to be the medical professionals most able to provide a detailed, longitudinal picture of the claimant's medical impairment(s) and may bring a unique perspective to the medical evidence that cannot be obtained from the objective medical findings alone or from reports of individual examinations, such as consultative examinations or brief hospitalizations.