How Workers’ Compensation Hearings Work

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 How Does a Workers' Compensation Hearing Work?

Most people do not want to deal with an insurance company after being hurt on the job.

Although the process varies by state, the reality is that most worker’s compensation claims, particularly those involving significant occurrences, will take time and effort. The claim will be adversarial, at least to some extent, and will almost certainly include a formal hearing.

Thus, while the worker’s compensation procedure might be intimidating, understanding the fundamentals can help make an already difficult situation less stressful.

What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Are Available?

Workers’ compensation payouts often include the following:

  • Income replacement
  • Medical costs
  • Rehabilitation

While you are unable to work, you will get a temporary disability pension.

If you are permanently unable to work, you can get a long-term or lump-sum pension.

Workers’ Compensation Requirements

To meet workers’ compensation obligations, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a legitimate employee of your company (i.e., not an independent contractor)
  • Your injuries must be work-related.

Worker’s Compensation Claim Processing

To collect workers’ compensation, you must go through numerous stages. You must also:

  • Report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Some states mandate notification within 2-30 days of the injury. If an accident or disease occurs as a result of your employment, you must disclose it as soon as you understand it is the result of your work.
  • Seek medical attention and follow the doctor’s orders.
  • Make a claim with your employer’s insurance company. Your employer is required to offer insurance claim forms.

Throughout the process, keep all copies of documents.

Workers’ Compensation Covers a Variety of Injuries

Workers’ compensation is intended to compensate injured workers regardless of whether the company or the employee caused the harm. Workers’ compensation will cover your injury as long as it is work-related.

Common injuries covered include:

  • Injuries caused by repetitive stress
  • Illnesses or diseases that develop gradually as a result of working conditions
  • Physical damage caused by trauma
  • Injuries caused by repeated trauma
  • When combined with physical harm, mental injuries
  • Occupational illnesses

Workers’ compensation insurance covers practically every sort of job accident. However, numerous types of injuries are still not covered by workers’ compensation:

  • Injuries caused by oneself (including injuries to you when you cause a fight)
  • Injuries caused by the commission of a major crime
  • Injuries caused by your actions that contravene corporate policy
  • Injuries sustained when drunk or under the influence of illegal drugs

Who Isn’t Protected by Workers’ Compensation?

Several types of employees are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Employees who are not covered by workers’ compensation include:

  • Owners of businesses
  • Independent contractors
  • Federal employees
  • Domestic workers in private residences
  • Farm laborers
  • Maritime employees
  • Employees of railroads
  • Volunteers without pay

It should be noted that workers’ compensation regulations differ from state to state. For example, California workers’ compensation regulations may differ from those in other states.

1) Submitting a Claim

In most cases, filing a claim is the initial step in a worker’s compensation hearing. If the employee’s damage is minimal, this may be the only step they need to take. The insurance company may agree to pay for a few doctor’s appointments and, if necessary, lost wages.

It is not unusual for an employee to be deposed when a claim is made, and it becomes evident that there will most likely be a dispute.

2) Objecting to a Decision or Claim

Frequently, a disagreement occurs regarding the degree of an injury or whether compensation was warranted. Although the employee normally launches the process, it is occasionally initiated by a state’s worker’s compensation board.

If a dispute arises, the parties will almost certainly be obliged to attend a mandatory settlement conference or a pre-trial hearing. The concerns will be debated, explained, and ultimately laid down here. It is also possible that the insurance company will agree to make some payments at this point, potentially eliminating the need to argue the claim further.

If a settlement is achieved, it will most likely take the form of a lump sum or a bi-weekly payment. Which settlement is ideal for an employee depends heavily on state legislation and whether or not the individual intends to continue working.

3) Hearing

A hearing will be arranged if a settlement cannot be reached. A hearing is commonly referred to as a trial by most people. A worker’s compensation hearing, on the other hand, has numerous distinct features that are not seen in a regular trial, such as:

  • The rules of evidence have been lessened.
  • Both parties argue solely to a judge, not a jury.
  • The trial will not necessarily continue the next day but might last for months.

Who Will Attend a Workers’ Compensation Hearing?

As previously stated, the audience is usually limited to the counsel representing both sides, the administrative law judge, and the injured employee. In some cases, a court reporter will be present to capture the proceedings; however, electronic transcription is becoming more popular.

If witnesses, such as doctors, experts, or other medical professionals, are called, they will be present as well. Family members are occasionally permitted to attend the hearing.

Will You Be Required to Take an Oath?

You will be required to take an oath. The presiding judge will ask you to raise your right hand before administering the same oath used in cases across the country. “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” it will say. You will be asked to respond affirmatively under oath.

Providing Your Testimony

Your workers’ compensation attorney will begin taking direct testimony after you have been sworn in. They will ask you questions about the nature of your work-related injuries and how you sustained them.

You will also be asked about your treatment plan, as well as your current health and capacity to work. You may also be requested to provide personal information about yourself.

After your attorney has completed questioning you directly, the defense counsel will cross-examine you. This entails them asking you more questions to catch you in a lie or exaggeration.

If witnesses are present, both attorneys will interrogate them about your case.


The judge will adjourn the hearing for the day once everyone has finished testifying. If they haven’t made a judgment by the end of the day, they’ll likely schedule another hearing, including testimony from your doctor and the insurance company’s doctor.

This second hearing will consist of both your lawyer and the defense counsel questioning medical specialists on your health, recovery, and treatment plan. You are welcome, but not necessary to attend this second hearing.

After hearing everyone’s testimony, the judge analyzes the facts and makes a ruling. They will issue a written ruling and transmit a copy to both your attorney and the counsel for the insurance company. Contact a lawyer if you have any questions about these steps.

Should I Hire an Attorney?

If you have been hurt on the job, you should immediately contact a workers’ compensation attorney in your area. While your top goal should be healing, keep in mind that insurance companies are well-represented, and it is usually preferable to employ a specialist to safeguard your best interests.


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