Were you injured on the job? Are you concerned about your ability to return to work? Have you filed a workers’ compensation claim? Is the process taking longer than expected? While you hope that your Florida workers’ compensation claim is quickly approved, this isn’t the way things always play out. There’s a good chance you could receive an initial denial, which forces you to answer this question: does it make sense to file an appeal? The last thing you want to do is miss out on compensation that’s due to you. So, in most cases, filing an appeal is in your best interest. If this is the case, you’ll want to know what to expect and how to prepare for a workers comp hearing.
What to expect at a workers’ compensation hearing
Knowing what to expect at a workers’ compensation hearing allows you to prepare accordingly. Combine this with the assistance of an experienced Florida work injury lawyer and you’ll soon realize that you’re prepared for anything that comes your way.
It’s important to note that not every claim requires a formal hearing. Even if your original claim is not approved, you may still be able to settle with the insurance company before heading to a formal hearing.
What parties are present at a workers’ compensation hearing?
Generally, the parties that participate in a workers’ compensation hearing include:
- You and your legal team
- Representatives from your employer
- Representatives from your employer’s workers comp insurance company
- Witnesses, such as anyone who saw you get injured
What happens at the hearing?
This varies from one case to the next, but typically includes the following:
- Presentation of facts: This is your opportunity to prevent medical evidence and supporting documentation to back up your claim.
- Testify: You’ll field questions from both your legal team and representatives from the other side. It’s important to prepare for this step in advance.
- Witness statements: The more witnesses you have, the easier it is to prove that you were injured on the job and should obtain benefits. For example, if your employer argues that you were injured outside of work, but a co-worker saw you fall from a ladder, that can work in your favor.
How long does a workers comp hearing take?
This varies from claim to claim and depends largely on how much information is to be shared.
Generally, you can expect your Florida workers comp hearing to take anywhere from one to two hours.
The judge generally doesn’t make a decision at the time of your hearing. Instead, they’ll review the information provided, consider all the testimony, and then make a final decision.
The judge will write their decision and mail it to all applicable parties. You can expect to receive this decision within one to three months.
What outcomes are possible?
Generally, there are two possible outcomes of a workers’ compensation hearing:
An approval means that the judge sides with you and you’re now in line to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
A denial is more complicated, as it means you’re once again at square one. However, you’re not out of luck just yet, as you can still appeal the decision.
What questions are asked at a workers’ compensation hearing?
There’s no way of knowing exactly what you’ll be asked at a workers’ compensation hearing, so you want to prepare — with the help of your attorney — for anything that could come your way.
Questions are generally based on the following subject matter:
- Questions about the incident that resulted in your injury
- Details regarding why the incident occurred
- Evidence-based questions
- Information related to your injury, treatment, and prognosis
- Steps you’re taking to get over your injury so you can return to work
Mistakes to avoid at a workers’ compensation hearing
There are things you should and shouldn’t do at a workers’ compensation hearing. Understanding the most common mistakes will help prevent a situation in which you harm your chance of approval.
Here are some of the most common mistakes:
- Admitting fault
- Providing vague answers
- Neglecting to provide documentation to back up your claim
- Tackling the process on your own
How to win your workers’ compensation hearing
Your goal is simple: you want to win your case so you can obtain benefits.
Do these things to help your cause:
- Prepare in advance
- Familiarize yourself with all applicable documentation
- Know important times and dates
- Consult with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney in Florida
Find a Florida work injury lawyer near me
At Sternberg / Forsythe, PA, we’re familiar with the ins and outs of the Florida workers’ compensation system. This includes advanced knowledge of how to prepare for hearings and appeals. If you’re struggling to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, contact us online or give us a call to schedule a free consultation. We’ll do whatever it takes to put your mind at ease and help you move through the claims process with confidence.
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