When your workers’ comp claim is denied, you have the right to take it to court. A workers comp hearing is then scheduled to determine whether or not you should receive workers comp benefits. This is most likely your only chance of convincing the judge that you deserve those benefits. So it’s crucial that you understand the process and how to prepare for it.
What to Expect At Your Workers Comp Hearing
Workers’ compensation hearings involve specific rules and procedures. In general, they are composed of two parts: the pre-trial hearing and the final hearing.
When a workers comp case is taken to court, a pre-trial hearing is then scheduled. This is to clear up any administrative issues that can be handled before the trial. It enables all parties to focus on the real legal issues during the final hearing.
Final workers comp hearings are usually held days (or even months) after the pre-trial hearing. They’re formal proceedings where all parties are sworn in and typically last from two to four hours. Your workers’ comp attorney (if you have one) will present evidence supporting your claim. Witnesses will be questioned and the evidence examined.
Your employer or insurance company’s lawyer will also make their argument. Evidence and witnesses disproving your claim will be presented too.
The ruling judge will listen to both sides, inspect the pieces of evidence, and rule any objections.
Workers’ comp hearing venues depend on the state. In Florida, the hearing is held in a courtroom of the Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims. They have set-up districts all over the state. So if you’re scheduled for a hearing, look up which county has jurisdiction over the place where the injury happened.
Aside from your workers’ comp attorney, a legal representative of your employer or insurance company will also be there. Of course, the administrative law judge will be present too. Any witnesses who will prove or refute your claim will be called in to testify too.
Commonly Asked Questions
Since you are the aggrieved party, you’ll also have to stand as a witness (sometimes the only one) during the hearing. Some of the questions you can expect are:
- General Background Questions. At the start of the hearing, you’ll usually be asked about your name, age, date of birth, address, and marital status among others. You may also be asked about your spouse and children to establish dependency. If you have dependents, you’ll receive higher benefits.
- Employment Questions. To determine if there is wage loss on your part, expect questions about your job and employment history.
- Questions About the Incident. To be eligible for workers comp, you need to establish that your injury is indeed work-related. For this, you’ll be asked questions about the incident. This includes describing the nature of your work, how the incident happened, and all the little details.
- Medical Questions. Your medical records are an important source of information both for you and your employer. You need to give out information about preexisting medical conditions and your medical history in general.
- Ability to Work Questions. Your lost wages compensation is based on your ability to work. That’s why you should expect about what you can do as well as any work restrictions.
If you have a workers’ compensation lawyer, they’ll give you a list of questions beforehand so you can prepare your answers.
When Can I Expect a Decision?
Workers compensation judges typically release a decision at the conclusion of the final hearing. But with complicated cases, it can take a few weeks to several months. Your workers’ comp attorney can usually tell you when you can expect a decision
How to Prepare For Your Workers Comp Hearing
Though workers comp hearings usually resolve in the injured worker’s favor, it’s not exactly a walk in the park. If you’re not that familiar with the law, it can be even more difficult.
This is why the most effective preparation for a workers comp hearing is hiring an expert workers comp lawyer like Victor Malca.
Victor Malca Law, P.A. is one of the most trusted names for workers compensation cases in Florida. For almost three decades, we’ve been helping thousands of injured workers get the benefits they rightfully deserve. We can help you throughout the entire process – from gathering the necessary pieces of evidence to winning your case in court. Talk to us now for a free consultation.
VICTOR MALCA LAW – A TRUSTED NAME IN FLORIDA
Victor Malca P.A. has over 25 years of litigation experience in Workers Compensation and Social Security Disability lawsuits. His experience and continued success in fighting for his clients puts among the most trusted workers’ compensation lawyers in Florida. Our area of expertise is in representing injured workers on compensation benefit cases and disabled individuals claim social security disability benefits.
Our unwavering advocacy for employee rights and privileges are recognized by our past clients across South Florida. Book a free consultation today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Judy Ponio is a writer for Victor Malca Law P.A. and enjoys helping people with questions about social security, workers compensation, and other serious matters involving people’s livelihood. She is not an attorney and her writing should not be considered legal advice.