If you sustained a workplace injury and filed for workers’ compensation benefits, but were denied, you are also likely aware that you have a right to appeal this decision. However, the process can be incredibly complex, require several proceedings, negotiations, and even an independent medical exam. Unless you are able to resolve the dispute through an informal settlement, a judge will schedule a formal hearing and, ultimately, issue a decision once he or she has been presented with all available evidence. This hearing is your chance to present your case in front of a judge, which is why navigating this process correctly is so critical.
To ensure your hearing is handled appropriately, so you can successfully obtain the workers’ compensation benefits you need, it is imperative that you hire an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to represent you and handle your case. Too much is at stake to risk not having skilled representation on your side.
Before the Hearing
Before your case ever goes before a workers’ compensation judge, you will usually have to go through a few other proceedings and court dates, such as mediation and a pretrial conference. During the mediation process, you, your attorney, and the insurance company will attempt to negotiate a settlement with the assistance of a neutral and unbiased third party. During the pretrial conference, you will be able to exchange information with the insurance company’s lawyers and judge. You can also continue to work on negotiating a settlement.
Remember, being prepared is of the utmost importance, so make sure you gather and organize all evidence, such as unpaid medical bills, medical records, doctors’ reports, and other pertinent documents. It is also important to be mentally prepared to testify. Your attorney will be able to meet with you beforehand to ensure you have a good idea of what to expect and are ready to take the stand.
The Hearing Process
At your workers’ compensation hearing, you will need to present your case to a judge. He or she will evaluate the evidence and decide if you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. During the hearing, it is important to always be polite and respectful, dress appropriately, and to always show up on time. This does not mean you need to wear your best suit, but you should absolutely look neat and clean.
While no two cases are alike, most workers’ compensation hearings tend to last a few hours. If your case is particularly complex, it could potentially take several days. Be sure to bring any medications or other items you might need for the day for pain relief. Otherwise, you could end up being in excruciating pain if it turns out your hearing takes much longer than expected and you are without any of the medications you need to address it.
Ruling on a Decision
In most cases, the judge will not make a decision at your hearing. He or she will typically give all the exhibits and provided testimony further review before ruling on any decisions. Additionally, you and the insurance company might also have the chance to submit a written brief that contains the arguments you need to support your respective sides. The judge will issue his or her decision within about 30 to 90 days. In the event that the judge does not rule in your favor, keep in mind that you can also appeal that decision. Your attorney will be able to ensure you do not miss the deadline for appealing the decision.
Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in Glendale
If you were injured at work, it is crucial that you seek hire legal assistance as soon as possible to ensure you are able to obtain the crucial benefits you need to get through your period of recovery. At the Law Offices of Wax & Wax, our Glendale workers’ compensation attorneys have over 100 years of combined legal experience and a proven track record of success.
Start your workers’ compensation case today and call us at (818) 946-0608 to request a free case evaluation with one of our knowledgeable attorneys.