How to Prepare for Your Workers’ Compensation Hearing
When there is a dispute about whether you are entitled to workers’ compensation or the amount of benefits you are entitled to, you may need to request a workers’ compensation hearing. You can resolve the dispute through a settlement, but if you cannot settle your case, you have the right to request a formal hearing. At the formal hearing, a judge will listen to both sides of the story, review all the evidence presented, and then issue a decision in favor of one side.
If your workers’ compensation claim is being disputed and you have a formal hearing coming up, it is important that you prepare yourself thoroughly and carefully. Thorough and careful preparation can help you achieve a successful outcome. Below, we look at how to prepare for your workers’ compensation hearing.
- Hire a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The first and most crucial thing you should do if your workers’ compensation claim is being disputed and you have a formal hearing coming up is to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. A qualified workers’ compensation attorney can ensure you are properly prepared for the hearing. They can help you build your case. A skilled attorney can even help you negotiate with your employer’s insurance company and avoid the need for a hearing.
- Gather and Preserve Evidence
Before your workers’ compensation hearing, you need to gather and preserve evidence. You will want to gather copies of all relevant documents, such as medical records, employment records, depositions from medical professionals, and evidence of lost wages. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine what is relevant and what is not and collect and preserve what is helpful. You will also want to find witnesses who can testify in your favor. Coworkers and/or other people who saw what happened can prove quite beneficial in your case.
- Practice Your Testimony
Often, the injured employee will need to testify at their workers’ compensation hearing. Therefore, it is important that you prepare your testimony carefully and thoroughly early in advance. Write down how your accident happened, the timeline of your medical treatment, and the symptoms and limitations you are experiencing. However, you should avoid memorizing your testimony. If you memorize your testimony, it will sound rehearsed. Instead of memorizing your testimony, try to have crucial facts about your case at the front of your mind. Your attorney can help you determine which facts are the most important. They can help you determine the facts to focus on that can best help support your case.
During the workers’ compensation hearing, you will answer questions from your attorney and then questions from the opposing attorney (cross-examination). The judge may also ask you some questions. The questions will be about how you suffered your injury, what symptoms you suffer from, permanent disabilities, job duties, and many others. When answering questions, ensure you are truthful. And if you do not know the answer to a question or are unsure about it, do not speculate. Feel free to say, “I am not sure,” or “I don’t know.”
Contact a Vermont Workers’ Compensation Attorney
If you need help preparing for your workers’ compensation hearing, contact our skilled Vermont workers’ compensation attorney at Sluka Law PLC. We offer free consultations to all prospective clients.