If the insurance company has denied your benefits, you may need to attend a workers’ compensation hearing for your case. For some people, it is their first time going to court. For others, it is their first time going through the workers’ compensation process. Here are a few thoughts on what you can expect.
You go to a workers’ compensation hearing because the insurance company initially denied benefits after you reported your injury or denied benefits later on. Usually the parties conduct discovery before the hearing, such as depositions and exchanges of documents. If you and the insurance company cannot agree on a settlement at some point, your case will be scheduled for a hearing.
A workers’ compensation hearing is like a court trial, but a little more informal. There is no jury, and so the only fact-finder is the workers’ compensation judge. The hearing will be recorded so that you can appeal the judge’s ruling if needed. You, your lawyer, the employer’s and insurance company’s lawyers, and any witnesses such as doctors will attend. If you do not have a lawyer already, you definitely will want one for the hearing.
During the hearing, your lawyer will call you as a witness and ask you questions. The questions your lawyer asks will help the judge understand your case. You and your lawyer are trying to show that you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits, or that benefits were unfairly denied to you. In contrast, the insurance company’s lawyer is trying to show that you should not receive benefits. He or she can question you during a cross-examination.
The lawyers can call other witnesses such as doctors, private investigators, and coworkers from your job. Also, the lawyers will introduce exhibits, such as medical records, bills, reports, photographs, or videos. These witnesses and exhibits can help prove or disprove your case.
After the hearing ends, the judge will consider the testimony and evidence. He or she will issue a ruling on the issues presented at the hearing within about 60 days. If you disagree with the decision and your lawyer believes the decision was incorrect, you can appeal it. Your appeal will be considered by the Minnesota Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals.
Do you need a lawyer to assist you with getting workers’ compensation benefits? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.