What to expect at a Workers Compensation Hearing
Often times, issues arise in a workers compensation case that requires judicial intervention. Most issues in a case are resolved amongst the parties, but sometimes a judge is needed to make decisions on certain issues.
When a party wants a hearing, they file a Declaration of Readiness to Proceed (“DOR”). You can request a Status Conference, Mandatory Settlement Conference, Expedited Hearing or Priority Conference. Regardless of whatever type of hearing it is, all parties and their attorneys must be present at the hearings.
At a Status Conference, the parties get together to discuss issues in the case such as issues with medical treatment or simply because the other party is not returning your phone calls.
At a Mandatory Settlement Conference, the parties are required to try to settle the case. This hearing comes about only after your physician has released you and your case is ready for settlement. Your workers compensation attorney will negotiate with the other side and meet with you in the lobby to discuss the negotiations with the other side. Your attorney will also likely recommend a settlement amount to accept, but you have the final say as to whether a settlement is made or not. Your attorney might also suggest that you still need further medical evaluations and that your case is not ready for settlement.
At an expedited hearing, issues such as whether you have to treat in the Medical Provider Network will be dealt with among the parties. You may need to testify at this hearing if you are not agreeable to treating within the Medical Provider Network.
Priority conferences are requested for denied cases to determine if an injury really occurred while the injured worker was working for the employer. This conference can be continued to a trial and your testimony will be taken to determine if you got injured on the job.
Generally, in all hearings, except for trial, the injured workers will wait in the lobby for their attorney to provide them with updates and notifications throughout the hearing. There is nothing an injured worker has to prepare for in these hearings since they will stay in the lobby and not have to discuss the case with the judge.
You may change your lawyer at no additional cost
If you need a lawyer to assist you with what to expect at a workers compensation hearing or are currently represented by a lawyer who has not sufficiently explained the process, you have the right to change your lawyer for no additional cost to you. Feel free to call our office or chat with us online to discuss your options for a Free Consultation.