What to Expect at Your Workers’ Compensation Hearing
Workers’ compensation hearings occur when a claim is in dispute—whether an employee or employer appeals the decision.
Why might you have to go through a workers’ comp hearing? What should you expect during the process?
We answer these important questions, and more, in this post. Learn everything you need to know about workers’ compensation hearings today!
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Hearing?
As we mentioned above, workers’ compensation hearings are scheduled when a claim is in dispute between the injured worker, the employer, or the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC).
This can happen for one of the following reasons:
- Your claim was denied by the BWC, and you file an appeal.
- Your employer disputes your workers’ comp claim, and your case can’t be settled.
A workers’ comp hearing takes place in front of the Ohio Industrial Commission (IC). There are three different appeal levels for workers’ compensation claims: district level, staff level, and commission level.
- District level: An IC district hearing officer acts as the judge. District level hearings take place within 45 days from the date you filed the appeal.
- Staff level: If you appeal the decision of the district hearing, there is a staff hearing. This hearing takes place within 45 days of the date you filed the appeal. At this level, the IC staff hearing officer acts as the judge.
- Commission level: If you appeal the staff hearing officer’s decision, you may get a commission hearing. The commission looks at the facts presented at the previous hearing and decides whether or not to hear the appeal. If the commission agrees to hear your claim, the hearing happens within 45 days of when you filed the appeal.
Next, we’ll discuss what to expect from your hearing.
What to Expect from a Workers’ Comp Hearing
At a workers’ compensation hearing, a number of people will attend. This includes you (and your attorney, if you have one), your employer or insurer and their attorney, the IC hearing officer, and (potentially) a representative from the BWC. Other people, like a court reporter and witnesses for either side, might also be present.
During the hearing, both sides have the opportunity to present their case. You will be given the opportunity to present the evidence you have for your claim. This would include copies of documents like:
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Evidence of your lost wages (like previous pay stubs)
- Personnel records
- Reports from expert witnesses (like your treating doctor)
You may also testify and be asked questions about your claim. They might ask questions like:
- How you were injured
- What job you were doing
- How long you’ve been in your position
- Whether you’ve had previous injuries (to the part of your body that’s currently injured, or anywhere else)
- When you reported your injury to your employer
- When you went for medical treatment—and if you didn’t go right away, why not
- If you have other medical conditions
- If there were witnesses to your accident
- Your prior work history for the past year
It’s important to come to your hearing prepared. To prove your claim, you’ll need to have all your evidence collected. It’s also a good idea to have thought about what questions you might be asked and practiced your answers. (You don’t want to forget anything!) You want to make a good impression.
After the IC hearing officer has heard from you and your employer, they’ll take time to deliberate on their decision. They’ll review the evidence given to them and notes from the hearing.
You may receive a written notice of the IC’s decision as soon as 7 days after the hearing. Depending on the outcome, you might be celebrating a successful claim, or deciding to appeal a denial.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney
If a workers’ compensation hearing sounds stressful, we get it.
For many injury workers, a workers’ comp hearing is too much to handle by themselves. After all, they’re still dealing with an injury!
That’s why it’s a good idea to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney to represent you at your hearing. An experienced lawyer can help you by gathering all the evidence you need to prove your claim, deposing witnesses, and practicing your testimony with you. At the hearing, they’ll act as your representative, making legal arguments to the judge.
Having an attorney by your side benefits you in two important ways. First, letting your attorney handle the details makes the whole process less stressful. Second, having legal representation at your hearing can increase your odds of winning!
Call Casper & Casper Today
If you need help with your workers’ compensation hearing, call us today. We’re happy to discuss your case and how we may be able to help you fight for the compensation you need.