Workers’ Compensation Hearings: Part 2 – The Hearing

In this two-part series we discuss the basics of attending a hearing for your workers’ compensation claim. Last time we discussed what to expect with getting to the Industrial Commission and the hearing office. This time we go through what to expect of the hearing itself.

Waiting for the Hearing

The Industrial Commission conducts several hearings an hour in each hearing room.  Your hearing may start sometime within the hour that it was scheduled.  The hearing officer will call your name over the loud speaker when it is time for your hearing.

Inside the Hearing Room

The hearing rooms are usually set up with the hearing officer sitting at a raised “bench” with a long table in front of him/her.  You will sit on one side of the table and the employer on the other. This is not a court room and is much more relaxed than being in court.

Hearing Format

The hearing officer will likely give a short introduction of the workers’ compensation issue being presented, and then will turn the floor over to the first party.  Usually this will be the injured worker’s side, but there are times the employer’s side will go first.

After your workers’ comp attorney presents the case and goes through your testimony, the employer and/its representative has their chance to present their case.  Often the hearing officer will then ask for any rebuttal comments from your lawyer.  During this entire process the hearing officer may also ask questions of anyone.  See our other posts about questioning and your testimony.

Once both sides have finished, the hearing officer normally makes a few closing remarks such as “I will consider all the evidence presented here today and make my decision.  The hearing itself usually only lasts 10-20 minutes.

Getting the Hearing Results:

You most likely will not get an answer the day of the hearing.  However, most decisions are made within a few days.  The Industrial Commission Order will be mailed out and me you could get it within a few weeks. Workers’ comp lawyers can get orders emailed directly to them when they are issued, so check with your attorney about this.  I usually get the orders emailed within a day or two and can then tell my client the results before it comes in mail.

The workers’ compensation hearing process can be overwhelming, but having a general idea of what to expect can alleviate some of the anxiety.  The best way to prepare is to talk with your attorney, and if you don’t already have an attorney contact the workers’ compensation attorneys at The Friedman Law Firm.

By Kristin Cool

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