In a workers’ compensation claim, an injured worker is not entitled to a jury trial but rather an evidentiary hearing before an administrative law judge or ALJ. This is commonly known as a “bench trial” or “employee’s day in court”.
In most cases, the judge will ask the parties for information related to the issues of the case and the attorneys will briefly summarize for the judge what their position is on each of the issues. At that time the judge will generally call the case, the court will go on record and the judge will summarize the parties positions. As with any other hearing or trial, there will be a court reporter present to take down what is being said during the hearing and the witnesses will be sworn in.
If the injured worker requested the hearing, then he or she will be allowed to testify and then be cross-examined or questioned by the defense counsel or attorney for the Employer/Insurer. The injured employee may have other witnesses testify on his/her behalf and submit documents as further evidence to justify why he/she is entitled to compensation, medical treatment and/or assessed attorney’s fees.
Once the attorney for the injured worker has finished submitting their case to the court, the Employer/Insurer may then call witnesses or submit evidence to rebut or disprove the injured workers’ claim.
Unlike trials you see on TV, the parties do not present closing arguments at the hearing. Once the parties have submitted their evidence to the judge, he will then likely close the record. The parties then draft their closing arguments in the form of a brief which is presented to the judge for review. The judge considers the briefs and evidence presented at the hearing before rendering his decision.
When preparing to go to a hearing on your workers’ compensation claim, it is important that any injured worker be properly prepared. Let the Law of Offices of Laura Lanzisera work for you to prepare you and get the best results possible.