If you sustained a work-related injury and there was a dispute regarding whether or not you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, you might be going through the process of preparing for your workers’ compensation hearing. Oftentimes, many of these cases are able to settle, but some disputes inevitably make their way to a hearing if a resolution cannot be reached outside of court. This might be an overwhelming time for you, but with the assistance of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney, you can get through it and achieve the results you desire.
We have compiled a list of some helpful tips that will get you started on preparing for your upcoming workers’ compensation hearing.
Before the Hearing:
- Summarize how the accident and resulting injuries occurred: The insurance company might claim that the injury you are suffering from is not covered by workers’ compensation benefits. For example, they might claim that you were off duty when you were injured, or they might question how the incident occurred. Therefore, you must review any accident reports and medical records that describe the accident to ensure that your description of the events continues to remain consistent with those records. Otherwise, you will have to be prepared to explain any errors or discrepancies regarding the details of the accident and the injury itself.
- Prepare a timeline of your medical treatment: You will likely not be expected to be able to recount every minute detail of your medical treatment, but you should still have a basic recollection of the physicians you have seen, diagnoses you have received, any treatments you have undergone thus far as well as their outcomes, and any work restrictions you have been given.
- Identify what your current symptoms and limitations are: If the dispute that led to your workers’ compensation hearing is regarding whether or not you are capable of returning to work or if it is related to the extent of your disability, you must be prepared to explain all of your current symptoms and physical limitations. Remember, you will be under oath, so it is crucial to answer truthfully and without any added exaggerations. If walking causes you to feel pain, you should not say that you cannot walk at all. Simply explain that you can only walk for short periods of time. The insurance company will likely have video surveillance of you and they will not hesitate to use it against you, so only provide honest answers. Anything less will jeopardize your case.
- Speak to your co-workers and other potential witnesses: When working with your workers’ compensation attorney, he or she will decide if you need witnesses to support your claim. As such, you should be sure to inform your attorney of any co-workers who might have witnessed the accident occur or family members and close friends who have personal knowledge of your injuries and disability as a result of your workplace accident.
During the Hearing:
- Preparation during your hearing will be less time intensive, of course, but still important. Make sure you confirm with your attorney on your arrival time and make sure you are early to meet with him or her beforehand in order to make some last-minute preparations. You will not have to dress excessively formal, but you absolutely should make an effort to appear well-groomed and to dress appropriately. For example, a button-up blouse and slacks would be suitable. Remember to bring any medical devices you are currently in need of to avoid discomfort during or on your way to and from the hearing.
- The hearing itself will take less than an hour, though depending on the precise complexities of your case, it might take more time. While addressing the judge, always behave in a respectful manner and never appear hostile. It will not help your claim.
- If asked to testify, listen to every question carefully and answer truthfully and to the best of your ability. That said, you are not obligated to volunteer information. If you are not specifically asked about something or it is not related to the question, do not provide this extra information in your answer.
- This is a stressful and overwhelming experience, so if you cannot remember an answer to a question, it is okay to explain that you have forgotten some information. It is always best to avoid guessing or speculating since this can harm your case if it turns out that you are wrong.
Bakersfield Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
If you were injured at work, now is the time to hire a skilled workers’ compensation attorney to protect your rights to receive these crucial benefits during what is undoubtedly a difficult time. At Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation, our Bakersfield workers’ compensation attorneys have over 130 years of combined experience that we will put to work for you.
For the representation you deserve, reach out to us today and call (661) 716-5555 and schedule your free initial case consultation with a knowledgeable member of our legal team.