If you’ve never filed a workers’ compensation claim before, you may not know what to expect at your first hearing. People usually need to attend workers’ compensation hearings when someone has disputed whether you are entitled to the benefits or amount of benefits you should receive. While many cases settle, others are more likely to go to a hearing than others.
For example, a dispute on the degree of a workers’ permanent disability might arise because a lot of money is at stake if your disability did result from your job. Not only would your employer have to pay the cost of your medical bills, but he or she might need to pay your permanent disability for the rest of your life.
Your workers’ compensation hearing will work best if you have the advice of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney on your side. Likewise, you should expect to do the following before, during, and after the hearing.
Before the Hearing
As the person applying for workers’ compensation, you will need to testify at the hearings. Testifying requires a lot of preparation in advance. While you don’t have to memorize your testimony, you should understand certain key facts that you should bring up in court. An attorney can help you prepare by helping you summarize how your accident or injuries occurred, drafting a time line of your medical treatment, and identifying your current symptoms and limitations. Likewise, you should talk to your coworkers or other potential witnesses who might be able to support your claim.
During the Hearing
Make sure to speak to your attorney about when exactly you should arrive at the hearing. Your lawyer will likely ask you to come early so you both can make last-minute preparations. You don’t need to wear a formal suit, but make sure to dress respectfully and be well-groomed. You should also bring any necessary medical equipment or devices you would typically need for an outing, such as crutches, an arm sling, or sunglasses.
These hearings usually take less than an hour; however, it may stretch to several hours if your case is more complicated. Your attorney and the insurance company’s attorney will each have the opportunity to present their arguments. A workers’ comp judge will hear your claim, and you should do your best to treat him or her with respect. Overt displays of temper or anger will not do you any favors.
When you testify, listen carefully to each question and consider your answer before giving a response. Your testimony will be under oath, so you should answer each question honestly. However, only respond to the question asked and avoid volunteering any extra information. If you can’t remember the answer or don’t know the answer to a question, it’s okay to say so. Avoid guessing or speculation, which might cast doubt on the veracity of your testimony.
After the Hearing
The judge will issue a written order stating his or her decision after the hearing is concluded. The order will usually arrive within a few weeks of the hearing, but it can take longer. If you disagree with the conclusion, you can file an appeal with the help of your attorney. The order will indicate the date by which you need to submit your appeal.
If you require help with a workers’ compensation hearing, don’t hesitate to call us. Our skilled workers’ compensation attorneys are dedicated to helping workers seek compensation for injuries sustained on the job. We understand it can be difficult to take on powerhouse insurance companies, but we have made it our mission to even the odds and ensure our clients get the benefits they deserve. We can help you with the initial application process or represent you in court if you have been denied. Workers’ compensation is an incredibly specialized area of law. Specific statutes, laws, and codes govern all workers’ compensation cases, so you should rely on attorneys who specialize in this field. The Law Offices of Andrew B. Shin has the experience it takes to work effectively and efficiently by cutting through “red tape” to win better results and recovery for our clients. As the injured party, you deserve compensation for your medical bills, rehabilitation, and lost wages. Our representation is also always a collaborative effort, so our entire team will be contributing to the success of your case. Let us see what we can do for you.