Chapter 11 trying a workers’ comp claim
Trying a Workers’ Comp Claim
We try to resolve many of our Workers’ Compensation claims. However, we do have instances where the employer will not comply with the law and a trial is the only way we can get full compensation for our clients. We really enjoy trying workers’ compensation cases because we are able to bring a powerful team to get great results. We try many civil cases as well and bring that trial acumen to these administrative law claims. We regularly hone our trial skills to ensure the best results for our clients.
We obtain the opinion and testimony of a very well qualified doctor to support our claim. We bring in the testimony of the injured workers as well as any other coworkers or family members to attest to the fact that the injury happened and the severity of the injuries. We prepare a full proposed Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law, which is really a proposed Order, for the Workers Compensation administrative law Judge. We often request penalties against the employer when they fail to provide medical or benefits they should have. We seek attorney’s fees and expenses as well as unpaid medical.
A case only goes to trial if it is not settled beforehand. A worker’s compensation trial is referred to as a hearing and is conducted before an administrative law judge. A hearing before the division of worker’s compensation is very similar to a civil non-jury trial. Opposing lawyers for the employee and employer present cases and evidence to the Administrative law judge who serves as the finder of fact. The administrative law judge also rules on evidentiary issues and objections. The administrative law judge cannot help either party with their case, so it is very important to have representation at a worker’s compensation hearing. The burden of proof is generally on the employee for most case issues.
Types of Workers’ Compensation Hearings
There are two major types of worker’s compensation hearings, a hardship hearing and the final hearing. A hardship hearing is requested by an employee when the employer fails to properly pay for medical treatment or temporary disability payments. At a hardship hearing a judge typically rules on some of the disputes and issues a partial award, but the case remains unresolved. At a final hearing, the judge issues a final decision and award. A final hearing is typically conducted after all medical treatment has concluded.
At a worker’s compensation hearing, just as at a trial, the two opposing sides will present sworn witnesses and other evidence, which are subject to cross examination. Both sides will make applicable objections, which are ruled on by the administrative law judge. Occasionally a state representative will present evidence on behalf of the second injury fund as well. Everything is recorded by a court reporter and at the close of evidence the judge will make his decision. If the judge rules in favor of the employee an award is issued.
The issues tried in a Work comp trial can vary, but usually are concentrated on whether an on the job injury occurred, what that injury was, the scope of the injury and medical required to heal the worker, whether and when MMI was reached and the level of disability that was caused by the work place injury only.