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What to Expect in a Workers Compensation Hearing

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Collier Law Firm, What to Expect in a Workers' Compensation Hearing

If you have been injured on the job but your workers’ comp claim was denied, you have the right to appeal that decision. With the help of an experienced workers comp attorney, you can navigate the process and get the benefits you deserve.

Contact Collier Law for assistance with your workers’ comp case and learn more about workers’ compensation benefits and your rights.

North Carolina Workers’ Comp System

The North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act was created in 1929. The Act provides that employers or their insurance carrier pay benefits to injured workers who are injured or become disabled due to a work-related injury. The Workers’ Compensation Act allows employers to self-insure if they can show financial ability to do so.

Workers’ comp is a no-fault system, which means that the injured worker does not have to prove that their employer was at fault for the injury to receive benefits. Conversely, it also means that the injured worker can recover, even if the accident was his or her own fault. 

Before Your Workers’ Compensation Hearing

Hiring a Workers’ Comp Attorney

If you are considering hiring an attorney for your workers’ compensation case, it is important to choose someone who has experience with these types of cases. An experienced lawyer will be able to help you navigate the process and ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve.

At a workers’ compensation hearing, your attorney will argue on your behalf to get you the benefits you need. If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Collier Law today to get started on your case.

Filing the Claim

If you have been injured at work, you should report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. Your employer should file Form 19 with the North Carolina Industrial Commission. However, it is also on the employee to file their claim using Form 18.

The workers’ compensation claim will then be investigated, and your employer’s insurance company will decide whether to accept or deny the claim. If the claim is denied, you can appeal to have it reviewed.

You may be asked to attend a workers’ comp hearing if there is disagreement about your injury or the benefits you should receive. Your workers’ comp attorney will represent you and argue on your behalf at the hearing.

Who Attends Workers’ Compensation Hearings?

Workers’ comp hearings are typically attended by the injured worker, the employer, the insurance company’s attorney, and requested witnesses. A court reporter will also be present, along with the judge.

How Do I Prepare for My Workers’ Compensation Hearing?

The best way to prepare for your workers’ comp hearing is to gather all your evidence and documentation. This includes medical records, wage information, and any other relevant documents. You should also review the facts of your case with your attorney and be prepared to discuss them with the judge.

The Workers’ Compensation Hearing Process

Evidence

At the beginning of the hearing, each side will give the judge documents or “exhibits” to review. This typically includes:

  • Medical evidence such as medical records and bills
  • Evidence of lost wages
  • Employment Records
  • Documents of your job search efforts if that is relevant to your case
  • Depositions and reports by expert witnesses such as your treating doctor

Testimony

You will usually testify at the hearing. Your testimony typically includes:

  • The date of the injury and how it occurred
  • Who you reported the injury to
  • Initial medical treatment you received
  • The extent of your injuries and how they impact your ability to work
  • Attempts to return to work
  • Your standard job duties, training, and education

The employer will also provide testimony and any witnesses who may have relevant information.

Final Arguments

After all of the evidence has been presented, the parties will take the depositions of your treating physicians. Once those are completed, your attorney (and the attorney for the employer) will submit a set of contentions to the judge, which is essentially a closing argument. The judge will then review all of the evidence and render an Opinion and Award.

 After the Hearing

Once the hearing is over, the judge will issue a ruling. If you are found to be eligible for workers’ comp benefits, the amount and duration of those benefits will be determined. If you are not found to be eligible, you may have the opportunity to appeal the decision.

If you have been injured on the job, contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer today to get started on your case. An experienced workers’ comp lawyer at Collier Law can help you navigate the process and ensure that you receive the benefits you deserve.

Workers’ Comp Benefits

If the judge rules in your favor, you will receive workers’ comp benefits. Workers’ comp covers medical bills and lost wages related to an injury or illness that occurred while you were working. In most cases, workers’ compensation will cover all of your medical expenses that are directly related to the injury or illness, including prescriptions, doctor visits, surgery, and hospital stays. This definition of medical expenses includes mileage for trips over 20 miles round trip, whether it be to the doctor or physical therapy.

Workers’ compensation also covers lost wages. Lost wages are calculated by taking what you make on average every week and multiplying that by ⅔. (Lost wages are tax-free under workers’ comp.) The amount of lost wages will vary depending on the severity of your injury or illness and how long it takes you to recover from it. You should not expect to be paid for any time off due to sick days or vacation days that occurred before your injury or illness.

How Collier Law Can Help You With the Workers’ Compensation Process

If you or someone you love has suffered a job-related injury or illness, call an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Collier Law for assistance with your workers’ comp case.

You are so much more than a number to us: we value our attorney-client relationship and getting the justice you deserve. We are advocates for injured employees. Call for a free consultation to find out how we may assist you.