A workers’ comp hearing is usually the next stage after an unsuccessful settlement. Like a trial, it’s conducted before a workers’ comp judge. The judge will review your evidence and make decisions on your workers’ compensation benefits based on them. In essence, your workers’ comp hearing determines the outcome of your claim for benefits.
Therefore, it’s important to prepare extensively for a workers’ comp hearing long before the due date. Proper preparation involves hiring a qualified workers’ comp attorney, organizing your evidence, etc. Another essential part of preparing for your workers’ comp hearing is knowing what to expect during the proceedings.
Knowing what to expect in a workers’ comp hearing helps you to plan better and be more organized. It also ensures that you’re not thrown off balance as you make your case before the judge. If you’re preparing for a workers’ comp hearing soon, you will get an idea of what to expect in this article.
What Should I Expect at a Workers’ Comp Hearing?
You should expect the following at your workers’ compensation hearing:
The Parties Present
It’s essential to prepare yourself for the people you’d meet at your workers’ comp hearing. Each person that is present at your hearing has a vital role to play. So you should know which of them to watch out for from the beginning.
Usually, the parties present at a workers’ compensation hearing besides you are:
- Your work comp lawyer or legal team
- Your employer and/or their representatives
- Representatives from the insurance companies involved in your claim
- Witnesses (including doctors, co-workers, supervisors, or anyone who saw the work accident happen)
- Court reporter
- The workers’ compensation judge
As the hearing commences, you and the insurance company will present facts and documents to the judge. In this hearing stage, both parties will present whatever evidence they have to back up their claims. That will include medical records and bills, evidence of lost wages, etc.
You should also expect to testify at the hearing. You’d do this by answering questions from your lawyer and, after that, the insurance company’s attorney. The judge may also ask you questions when necessary.
As the hearing progresses, you and the insurance company will be allowed to call witnesses. Each party will be allowed some time to ask these witnesses questions that are relevant to their testimonies.
There are specific questions to anticipate during a worker’s comp hearing. Be sure to prepare for them so that you aren’t taken by surprise. The questions will likely relate to the following:
- How and why the accident that caused your injury happened
- Your symptoms
- How your injury has affected the quality of your life
- Your job duties and training
- Questions relating to your evidence
- Your treatment and prognosis
- Your attempts to return to work
After the hearing, the judge will reach a decision based on the evidence before them. The judge will review exhibits and testimonies; hence, the ruling may come sometime after the hearing. However, you should have an idea of the possible outcomes of your hearing.
Generally, the judge can either rule in your favor or against you. That is, your workers’ comp hearing will either end at approval or denial. If the judge approves of your claims, you’d be entitled to work comp benefits. A denial means that you’re not qualified for benefits. You can, however, appeal the decision if you’re not satisfied with it.
Work comp cases are different and would lapse within varied periods. The workers’ comp hearing may last a day. However, the judges don’t give their ruling immediately. You may have to wait for another one to three months for the judge’s decision.
Five Mistakes to Avoid at a Workers’ Comp Hearing
While preparing for your workers’ comp hearing, remember not to make the following errors:
- Admitting that you’re at fault
- Refusing to hire a work comp attorney to represent you
- Neglecting to give relevant details
- Not backing your claims with enough documentary evidence
- Refusing to prepare in advance
- Not going through pieces of evidence before the hearing
Contact Experienced Miami Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Today!
Hiring the best workers’ comp attorney makes the difference regardless of how well you prepare for your workers’ comp hearing. That’s why you should always speak to our workers’ compensation lawyers at Miami 360. Our attorneys are reliable and have ample experience handling workers’ compensation hearings and related matters.
We’d ensure that your work comp case ends at an approval. Get help now. Contact us asap!