When you can’t come to an agreement as to what your workers’ compensation benefits should be, or whether your employer is responsible for your injuries, you may need to pursue a workers’ compensation hearing. A hearing is a meeting before a judge or panel of judges where you plead your case, your employer or their insurance company pleads theirs, and you both present your evidence in order to support your positions. At the end of the hearing, the judge or judges will issue a ruling in favor of one side.
One of the keys to a successful hearing is thorough and careful preparation, which allows you to present your case clearly, effectively, and concisely while backing it up with solid, concrete evidence to support your arguments. Here are a few ways you can prepare for your workers’ compensation hearing.
The evidence you can submit will play a huge role in your testimony. This means you’ll want to obtain copies of everything from medical records and treatment history to treatment invoices to documentation of the time your condition has forced you to miss work (and any doctor’s notes or advisories that have instructed you to do so).
You should also take this opportunity to lineup those who can testify in your favor. While expert witnesses can go a long way towards showing how your injuries have impacted your life and prevented you from working, it’s also beneficial to talk to co-workers or other people who may have witnessed the accident and can testify as to what happened. However, you should let an attorney decide what’s helpful and what’s unnecessary.
Practice Your Testimony
Most injured workers need to testify at their own hearings, which includes giving a detailed and specific account of what happened. It’s good to memorize the facts in your case and have those at the forefront of your mind. However, don’t memorize your testimony itself—you don’t want it to sound rehearsed, which could suggest collusion. You should also talk with an attorney about what facts are the most relevant and the best support for your case before presenting your testimony. Some facts are more beneficial than others, so you’ll want to make sure you focus on those specific ones.
It’s strongly advised you have a Sacramento workers’ compensation lawyer on your side before and during your hearing, as they can help you effectively plead your case and help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Call Smolich & Smolich today at (888) 452-0703 if you need assistance preparing for your workers’ compensation hearing.