Preparing for Workers’ Comp Hearing
A workers’ comp hearing comes about because the insurer has refused to pay as agreed or the amount being offered is too low to make any sense. Your lawyer will opt to go for a hearing.
“Studies show that the percentage of denied claims from work injuries increased by more than 1 percent from 2013 (5.8 percent) to 2017 (6.9 percent).”
Most workers’ comp cases settle out of court, but if the case is more complicated, for instance, in cases when the liability is shared, then you have to proceed to a hearing to reach an agreement.
The court will give you a date for the hearing; make sure you attend and prepare in advance. Talk to experienced workers’ comp lawyers to know what to do and what not to do before the hearing date.
Here are some of the tips to help you prepare for the date.
Know what to Bring Along
If you haven’t submitted copies of medical records and expenses to your lawyer, make sure you carry relevant copies along. However, it is usually advisable that you submit these documents to the lawyer in advance so that he can consolidate all evidence to come up with a solid case.
Carry along any equipment and medical devices that are relevant to the case. Some of the hearings might take time; therefore, carry daily medication that you might need.
Understand How the Process Works
You need to know how the process works to be well prepared. In a typical hearing, your lawyer and the defendant’s lawyer present the motion to the hearing officer. The lawyer presents evidence to prove that you, the other party are at fault. Each side gets a chance to question witnesses and make arguments.
Be Ready to Testify
Be prepared to testify at the hearing. The workers’ comp lawyers will ask you questions that you are supposed to answer to your ability. The opposing counsel also cross-examines you to try and poke holes in your evidence.
Some of the questions to expect touch on how the injury occurred, your symptoms, how it affected your daily life, your current job duties and more.
If you don’t have the answer to a question, don’t guess or speculate, or this might be used against you. It is better to say you don’t remember or don’t know. Don’t include hearsay, as it might hurt your chances.
If you know that you might be asked to testify, prepare your testimony early enough so that you don’t get confused. Write down the details of the accident so that you don’t forget anything.
What to Do As You Wait For the Decision of the Judge
After all the submissions from both sides, the judge usually takes between 30 and 90 days to review the submissions and give a judgment. The judgment is usually mailed to you or your lawyer. If your case is thrown out, you have the right to appeal the decision. However, this will depend on what the lawyer advises you to do.
Be sure to adhere to all deadlines, and if you have any questions, discuss them with your lawyer before making some decisions.
The Role of a Workers’ Comp Lawyers
Going to a hearing might be intimidating to many people, especially if this is the first time. Working with a lawyer that has been to such hearings before makes everything easy for you. He guides you on what to do and helps you collect the evidence you need for the hearing. He also gives you tips on the possible questions that will be asked by the opposing counsel and tells you how to answer the questions.
Choose a lawyer wisely because if you work with one who isn’t experienced in such hearings, you risk losing the case quickly.