After being injured on the job, you can seek compensation for accident-related losses or expenses by filing a claim with your employer. However, your employer or its insurance company might offer a low benefit amount or deny your claim altogether. If you receive an unfavorable outcome, you can request a hearing with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation. The hearing is similar to a trial where a judge hears both sides and decides whether benefits should be awarded.
A hearing is required only in contested workers’ compensation cases and is typically pursued only if alternative dispute resolution methods are inappropriate or fail. If you must go to a hearing, an attorney can help complete forms and prepare for proceedings.
The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC seeks just benefits for those who sustained workplace injuries in Atlanta. Schedule a consultation by calling us at (770) 741-2825 or contacting us online today.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Hearing?
If you get hurt in an accident at work or while performing job-related duties offsite, you are entitled to receive benefits for wages and medical care. Unfortunately, you might not get the compensation you were expecting or deserve. In that situation, you could file a claim with the State Board of Workers’ Compensation to request a hearing.
At the hearing, you and your attorney, as well as the opposing side, may make arguments about the request for benefits and why the previous decision should be upheld or overturned. You each may have witnesses testify and present other evidence to support your claims. You may also cross-examine the other side’s witnesses.
An administrative law judge (ALJ) will hear the matter. After you and the opposing counsel have presented your cases, you must submit written briefs summarizing your arguments. The ALJ will consider the briefs and decide whether you should be awarded or denied benefits based on the law and the facts you and the opposing counsel have presented.
Must You Attend a Hearing to Receive Benefits?
You don’t have to attend a hearing to receive workers’ compensation benefits. The hearing is often one of the last steps in pursuing financial recovery. You may be awarded benefits after you file your initial claim with your employer, provided the insurance company approves your request.
You can ask for a hearing if your employer doesn’t follow through with your claim, the award offer is lower than what you need, or the insurance company unjustly delayed or denied your request.
Even if you request a hearing, you might not need to attend it if you can resolve your case through alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation. Mediation involves you and the opposing side discussing your case with one another with the help of a third-party mediator. The mediator keeps talks on track to facilitate a just outcome.
If mediation is not appropriate or does not lead to a resolution, you would have to attend a hearing to seek fair workers’ compensation benefits.
What Happens If a Hearing Is Necessary?
If a hearing is necessary, it would be beneficial to hire an attorney. Although you can represent yourself, having counsel on your side can ensure that you properly prepare and relieve the burdens you might be facing.
It’s often intimidating going through a legal process like a hearing. The rules and procedures might be unfamiliar, making it difficult to know whether you are taking the appropriate steps. A lawyer can discuss the process and inform you of what to expect. Not only that, but they can also stand by you through it all, providing guidance and answering your questions along the way.
An attorney can assist in preparing necessary forms and gather evidence to build your case. They can exchange information with the other side to prevent surprises and develop a robust legal strategy. Your lawyer can also present your claims at the hearing.
Contact Our Firm Today
Depending on the path your case takes, you might have to attend a hearing to seek workers’ compensation benefits. Our attorneys in Atlanta deliver sound advice and counsel through these proceedings.
Speak with The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC about your case by calling (770) 741-2825 or requesting an appointment today.