What should a Worker expect at Worker’s Compensation Trial?

Most of the Workers’ Compensation cases get resolved by settlement. Only the workers’ compensation cases in dispute are needed to be resolved through workers’ compensation trial.  According to an estimate only 5% of the workers’ compensation cases go for a trial.

What to expect at a Workers’ Compensation Trial?

A workers’ compensation trial is referred to as ‘hearing’ but the more accurate term used in case of workers’ compensation is ‘evidentiary hearing.’ The employee needs to provide admissible evidence on the contested issues. And if the employee fails to provide required evidence, there are the chances of losing the case. So the employees should go for pre-trial preparation with the attorney.

It is crucial to keep in mind that the role of an administrative judge is to rule on objections, review the evidence and decide the case or provide ruling after trials. He cannot assist you in preparing or presenting evidence. So you need the help or services on a certified and experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney for:

  • Preparing your evidence
  • Presenting your evidence
  • Explaining the Rules of Evidence

Evidentiary Hearing can further be divided into two categories:

  1. Hardship Hearing: Hardship Hearing is requested by the employee’s attorney when there is a dispute about the medical treatment, payment of temporary total disability benefits or both. Judge usually issues a “temporary or partial award “for hardship hearing; meaning that judge makes ruling on certain issues but case remains on judge’s docket.
  2. Final Hearing: A ‘final hearing’ is an evidentiary hearing requested by either of the parties when all of the medical treatments have been concluded and both the parties have prepared their medical evidence and other expert evidence for the evidentiary hearing.

Decision of Court:

The decision provided by court after the evidentiary hearing is known as ‘award.’ An ‘award’ is similar to a judgement in circuit court. It is called an ‘award’ even if the employee receives no compensation.

What type of evidence is needed to be provided by an employee?

An employee needs to provide the following evidence:

  • Testimonies of the employee and other witnesses
  • Medical evidence including certified copies of medical records and testimonies of doctors
  • Doctor can provide a deposition and testify during hearing
  • Doctor’s reports (if needed)

After the employees have presented the evidence, the employer/insurer will also present its evidence. They also provide medical evidence in the form of certified medical records and/or physician’s testimony. Everything said during the evidentiary hearing is recorded by the court reporter and all the exhibits for identification are marked.

After all the evidence is presented, the judge may allow both the parties a short period of 21 days or less to file ‘briefs.’ ‘Briefs’ are the written statements pertaining to facts and the law and refuting each party’s position as to how the case should be resolved.

The ‘award’ is issued as soon as the administrative law judge has reviewed all the evidence and considered the ‘briefs.’ According to the law, the ‘award’ should be issued within 90 days of the last day of hearing. The award is mailed to the employee, to employer or insurance company, and to all the attorneys in the case. An appeal can be filed on the ‘award’ by any of the party.

Contact Law Office of Andrew S. Kasmer, if you need legal counsel and expert representation for workers’ compensation trial. Our dedicated attorneys will offer you aggressive and personalized representation and will help you to get what you deserve.

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