What Happens in a Workers Compensation Hearing?

Don’t walk into a workers’ compensation hearing without knowing what to expect. The NYC & Long Island workers’ comp lawyers at Aronova & Associates are ready and able to represent your interests throughout the claims process, including in hearings. We will make sure the evidence for your injury is comprehensive and clear-cut, and that all your documentation is correct. You don’t have to go it alone through a workman’s comp hearing, where pressure tactics and intimidation may be used to lower the value of your claim. Call Aronova & Associates in Garden City, New York, to make sure you take full advantage of your legal right to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more. Here is some more information about what New Yorkers can expect when it’s time for their hearings.

What Happens Before You Get to a Workers’ Compensation Hearing?

Many things will happen before your hearing is scheduled:

  • You will file your claim, which generally leads to a mediation and pretrial conference.
  • At the mediation, your employer’s insurance company will try to negotiate a settlement. You will have an opportunity to argue for a larger settlement amount based on the evidence of your injuries. An impartial mediator will try to help resolve any differences.
  • If you do not settle the case at the mediation conference, your case will be assigned to an administrative judge for a hearing.
  • You or your lawyer will attend preliminary hearings and exchange information about your claim before the final hearing. That information will include all medical records and bills, reports from your doctors, and witness statements.
  • Your case can settle any time before the workers’ compensation hearing.

Who Attends the Workers’ Compensation Hearing?

Your case will proceed to the hearing if you do not settle it beforehand. The three most important parties at that hearing are:

  • You or your lawyer, who will present your arguments to justify the largest possible worker’s compensation award;
  • The lawyer from your employer’s insurance company, who will argue for a lower award or no award at all;
  • The administrative law judge, who will impartially evaluate all evidence presented to him or her and make a decision on your award.

The hearing can take place in a meeting or conference room, rather than a typical courtroom. In some parts of New York State, you may also have an opportunity to participate in a “virtual hearing” that is conducted online, with no need for you to attend a hearing at a designated location.

A court reporter or stenographer who records everything will also attend the hearing. Doctors and other witnesses who can testify about your accident and injuries will also be present, as will representatives from both your employer and its insurance company.

What Evidence Do You and the Insurance Company Bring to a Workers’ Compensation Hearing?

Your own oral description of your injuries will not be enough to convince the judge to order a workers’ compensation award. You will need written medical records, statements from doctors, and testimony from witnesses who saw the circumstances that led to your injury. You will also need documents to show how your injuries have affected your finances.

The insurance company’s attorney will likely use the same or different written records to argue that your injuries are not severe enough to prevent you from doing your job, or that you were injured somewhere other than at your job. That attorney might use your past work and medical records for this purpose.

In New York State, you and the insurance company can also give the judge a statement of facts that you both agree upon, including, for example, the date on which you claim the injury happened and the amount of wages that the employer has not paid to you due to your absence from work. These statements can make the hearing go faster, but you need to be very careful before you make any agreements about uncontested facts. Your workers’ compensation attorney will provide the right guidance on the kinds of facts that you can agree upon and that will not hurt your case.

How Is a Workers’ Compensation Hearing Decision Made?

In New York State, an administrative judge can generally keep a hearing open for up to sixty days after a pre-hearing conference to allow both parties to submit further evidence in support of their arguments. After the hearing does close, that judge will issue oral or written findings as to whether your injuries or occupational disease arose out of or, were caused by, your employment.

You may have an opportunity to appeal the decision if you do not agree with it, but you will not have a chance to submit new evidence with the appeal. Because of this, you need to provide all evidence to support your workers’ compensation claim at the hearing.

Aronova & Associates: Your Workers’ Compensation Attorneys in New York

The NY workers’ compensation lawyers at Aronova & Associates help injured workers in NYC and Long Island to file and expedite claims for benefits that they deserve when they have been injured or fallen ill due to work-related conditions. Call us today for answers to your questions about workers’ compensation hearings and to learn how we can best assist you with your claim.

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Aronova & Associates is a firm for all New Yorkers. Our services are available in multiple languages and tailored to the needs of every client.  The first step in providing you with the help you need is a free consultation to discuss your case. When you’re ready to talk, we’re ready to get to work for you.

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