Not all people who apply for workers’ compensation after an injury need to attend a hearing. These events are only scheduled when there is a dispute between you and the insurance company. This dispute might be over whether you’re entitled to benefits or the amount of benefits the insurance company has offered.
Before the hearing, you should make sure to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side. A skilled lawyer can best help you prepare to testify at your hearing. He or she can also coach you on how best to present your testimony.
Make sure to have notes on what to discuss during the hearing. You will likely have to summarize how the injuries occurred and show a timeline of your medical treatment. Additionally, you will have to identify your current symptoms and limitations, particularly if you are being disputed about whether or not you can return to work. If coworkers or other individuals witnessed your accident, you might want to get a written testimony from them describing the scene. Some of them may also be willing to testify at your hearing.
During the hearing itself, you should ensure you are early and appear well-groomed. You don’t have to wear a formal suit, but avoiding casual clothes is best. These hearings will usually take less than an hour unless your case is particularly complex. Both sides will present their arguments to the judge. If you are questioned by your own lawyer or by the insurance company’s lawyer, you should listen carefully to each question and consider your answer before responding. Don’t be afraid to admit when you may not know the answer to a question.
After the hearing, the judge will issue a written order stating the decision in the case. This order usually arrives within a few weeks of the hearing but could take longer. In California, the order is typically issued within 30 to 90 days following the hearing. If the conclusion is unfavorable, you and your attorney can file an appeal.
If you were injured on the job and the insurance company refuses to grant you workers’ comp benefits, don’t hesitate to talk to one of our skilled Santa Ana workers’ comp attorneys as soon as possible. Let Ufkes & Bright see what it can do for you.
Contact us at (714) 909-2609 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation with us today.