Common Questions About the Workers’ Comp Hearing Process
The prospect of having a workers' comp hearing can sound intimidating and leave you feeling worried about obtaining your benefits. With an understanding of this procedure, proper preparation, and working with a qualified workers' comp attorney, the process can be less daunting and ensure you are able to focus on recovery.
Below is an overview of commonly asked questions we encounter when working with clients. Specifically, we examine who is involved, when hiring a lawyer is a good idea, and what an individual can expect from the workers' compensation hearing process.
What is a Workers Comp Hearing?
A workers' comp hearing occurs when there is a dispute between the injured worker and the Employer/Insurer. Additionally, depending on your particular case, it may require an independent medical exam, along with the provision of evidence and witnesses.
Who is Part of a Hearing?
Hearings typically involve the following people:
- The employee and their lawyer
- The insurance company’s lawyer
- The workers’ compensation commissioner.
- Additional people may attend depending on the case's circumstances, including a representative for the employer and/or witnesses.
When Should I Hire a Workers Compensation Lawyer?
If you are injured at work, it would be wise to secure an attorney to review your claim and represent you in the hearing process. An attorney will help you gather the necessary documents, which include:
- Your initial workers' compensation claim form (s)
- Depositions from witnesses: medical experts, colleagues, supervisors involved (if necessary)
- Medical records
- Paystubs from before the reported injury
- Medical bills related to the injury in question
Furthermore, they will assist you reconstruct a timeline for your claim. Lastly, your attorney will prepare you for questions that you will be asked by the attorney for the employer/insurer during your court appearance.
How Does a Workers Comp Hearing Work?
On the court date, you will be asked to testify before the judge with the focus being on:
- How you were injured
- Your symptoms and limitations that stemmed from the injury
- Normal job duties, training, and education
- Any effort to return to work afterward
This questioning will be done by both your attorney and the insurance company's lawyer.
Along with being honest and respectful in your responses, we encourage clients to dress appropriately for their hearing. How you carry yourself before the court and interact with others will likely be taken into account by the judge when making their decision.
After you and any witnesses are questioned, the judge will dismiss hearing participants and issue their decision within 14 - 30 days. Should you wish to pursue an appeal, you will have 30 days to do so with a circuit court in Maryland.