What to Expect at Your Work Comp Hearing
When you get hurt due to an accident at your job, you should know that you are entitled to monetary compensation, to make up for your medical bills and the lost hours or days at work. This is in short how the workers’ compensation law should work. Since there are many areas that require going to the court to settle certain workers’ comp cases, you should know what to expect in such situations.
What does the workers’ compensation hearing process look like?
The first thing you should know is that there are different types of hearings, and the one you will be attending will depend on your case.
Some of the most common workers’ compensation hearing types are:
- Claim Petition Hearing: This is the first step in the process and it’s basically when you notify your employer that you were injured at work and you are requesting workers’ compensation benefits.
- Benefits Review Conference Hearing: If your employer denies your claim, this is the next step. In this hearing, an administrative law judge will review your case and decide if you are eligible for benefits or not.
- Deposition Hearing: This is when both sides (you and your employer) have the opportunity to question each other’s witnesses.
- Conciliation Hearing: This hearing is held in order to try to settle the case without going to trial.
- Status Conference Hearing: This is a meeting between the parties of the case (you, your employer, your attorney, etc.), where everyone involved updates each other on what has happened since the last meeting.
- Motions Hearing: This is a hearing where the attorneys of both sides argue certain motions that have been filed.
You may also read: How To Hire A Personal Injury Attorney
How to prepare for my first worker’s compensation hearing?
If it’s your first time going to a worker’s compensation hearing, you might be feeling a bit nervous. That’s perfectly normal.
Here are some tips to help you prepare:
- Make sure you arrive early so you have time to check-in and find your seat.
- Dress comfortably but also keep in mind that this is a formal setting, so avoid anything too casual.
- Listen carefully to the judge and follow their instructions.
- If you need to ask any questions, make sure to do so politely and respectfully.
- Take your time when answering questions. If you don’t understand a question, let the person know and they will rephrase it.
- Be honest when answering questions.
Who attends a workers’ comp hearing?
Depending on the type of hearing, there might be different people in attendance.
However, some of the most common attendees are:
- The injured worker (you)
- The employer
- The insurance company representative
- The attorney for the employer and/or the insurance company
- Witnesses for both sides (this usually only happens in deposition hearings)
- An interpreter (if needed)
- The judge presided over the case.
What documents and evidence should you present?
The type of documents and evidence you need to present will depend on the hearing type.
However, some of the most common ones are:
- Your workers’ compensation claim
- Medical records and bills
- Employment records
- Witness statements (if applicable)
What happens next during the hearing?
Your testimony will require the following information:
- How the accident happened
- What injuries did you receive as a result of the accident
- The type of treatment you’ve received
- How your injuries have affected your ability to work.
Then you will be cross-examined and the judge will require the testimony of other witnesses.
After both sides have presented their cases, the judge will make a decision. This decision is usually binding, which means that both parties have to comply with it. Typically, the decisions are issued within a period of 30 to 90 days. However, if either party disagrees with the judge’s decision, they can file an appeal.
If you’ve been injured at work and are going through the workers’ compensation process, it’s important to know what to expect in each hearing type. By being prepared and knowing what to expect, you can help ensure that your case goes smoothly. If you have any questions, be sure to ask your attorney. They will be more than happy to help you through each step of the process.