As with other legal cases, workers’ compensation cases can go to trial if the parties involved fail to resolve them by themselves. During the trial, a judge decides if an injured worker is eligible for benefits. The decisions are made based on the law and the evidence presented in the case. A formal hearing is often the only chance for an injured worker to present their case before a judge and demonstrate the reason they are entitled to benefits. Read on to learn more about how a workers’ comp case can go to trial:
Hiring an Attorney
If you are like many employees injured on the job, you may find a workers’ comp hearing too hard to handle by yourself. At the hearing, you must convince a judge of your eligibility for compensation by making legal arguments and providing supporting evidence. Because of this, you must consider hiring an attorney to represent you at this hearing. An experienced attorney will ensure you have the proper evidence to present to the judge.
What Happens Before the Hearing
Before your workers’ comp case goes to a hearing, you may engage in mediation or a pretrial conference. Mediation takes place to let you and the insurer negotiate a settlement with the assistance of a neutral third party. On the other hand, a pretrial conference involves exchanging information with the insurance provider and the judge. Also, settlement negotiations may continue during this time.
If you are represented by an attorney, they can attend such preliminary hearings for you. Although you often should attend mediation, you may not attend a pretrial conference. But make sure to ask your attorney if you should be there.
The Workers’ Compensation Hearing Process
At the hearing, your attorney can present your case to a judge, who will assess the viability of your case. You need to be always polite and respectful at the hearing. Also, you must arrive at the hearing on time and be appropriately dressed. The hearing could last a few hours, though more complicated claims may take many days. It includes the presentation of documents and evidence, cross-examinations, and giving testimonies.
Often, the judge will review the exhibits and take into account all of the given testimony. The judge usually issues decisions within 30-90 days. If they rule against you, you have the right to appeal the decision. Should you need help, get in touch with a worker’s comp attorney.