Workers’ Compensation Hearings in Georgia
Guidance from Our Atlanta Workers’ Comp Lawyers
Workers’ compensation claims can be complicated and confusing—especially when they are denied. That is why it is so important to have a skilled, understanding, and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney in Atlanta behind your case. At the Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC, we are dedicated to representing workers who have been hurt while on the job. We have 20+ years of combined experience and have a background in employer and insurance defense.
What else makes our firm qualified to guide you through your hearing?
- Selected to the Super Lawyers® Rising Stars℠ list from 2011-2014
- Lead attorney holds a 10.0 Superb rating on Avvo
- 100% free initial consultations and contingency fee representation
- Million-dollar case results over the years
Don’t go through your workers’ compensation hearing alone. Call (770) 629-9321 to set up an appointment.
What Happens in a Workers’ Compensation Hearing?
While many people are (understandably) intimidated by the thought of a workers’ compensation hearing, the hearing itself is a fairly straightforward process. With proper preparation and counsel from your attorney, you can be confident in how the hearing will proceed and what you can expect.
Each case is unique, but the workers’ compensation hearing process in Georgia is fairly uniform. Before the hearing, your attorney will help you prepare by ensuring all applicable issues are ready for the administrative law judge’s consideration. Your attorney will also work with the opposing counsel to exchange important evidence relevant to the case.
On the day of the hearing, you and your attorney will appear before the administrative law judge (ALJ). Opposing counsel will also be present. Both sides will present a brief summary of why they are there, as well as their respective positions, to the ALJ who will then “go on record.” Once “on the record,” the ALJ will summarize the case and both sides’ positions, and this will be recorded by the court reporter. The ALJ may also place witnesses under oath at this time.
The hearing will then commence. Typically, the party with the burden of proof—which is usually the side that requested the hearing (you/your attorney)—will present its case first. At this point, you may be required to present testimony to the ALJ and other witnesses from your side may be examined. You and/or the witnesses may also be cross-examined by the opposing counsel. Your attorney will help you prepare for cross-examination prior to the hearing. Your attorney may also present admissible documents as evidence of your position.
Next, the opposing side—your employer/employer’s legal team—will present its case. Similarly, the opposing side can also present admissible documents and witnesses as evidence. Once the opposing side has finished presenting its case, the ALJ will “close the record,” which concludes the hearing. The ALJ does not provide a decision at this time; instead, both your attorney and the opposing counsel will provide written briefs summarizing their respective positions and evidence to the ALJ, who will review them. These briefs cannot contain any new evidence not presented at the hearing.
After reviewing both briefs, the ALJ will provide a written ruling of his or her findings and “conclusions of the law.” This ruling, or “award,” is the ALJ’s decision and can be accepted or appealed by either party. The award is typically provided a few months after the hearing, though this timeline can vary.
If you have any questions about workers’ compensation hearings in Georgia, contact our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys today. We can guide you through the process and help you understand how workers’ comp hearings work. Should you choose to work with us on your case, we will ensure that you are fully prepared for your hearing before it commences.
What Happens if My Claim Is Denied?
If your workers’ compensation claim has been denied, we move forward with filing a hearing, which will be in front of an administrative law judge. Many injured workers have never been required to appear or testify in court. At the Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC, our Atlanta, Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers are here to advise you on the hearing process.
Over the years, Mr. Hansford has tried many workers’ compensation trials gaining extensive experience in front of the State Board of Workers' Compensation. He can help you summarize your accident and injuries, prepare a timeline of medical treatment, identify any current symptoms and limitations / disabilities, and even gather witness testimony from coworkers to prepare for your hearing.
What to Expect During a Hearing
There are no juries involved in any workers’ compensation hearing. Instead, the judge hears the testimony, reviews the documents submitted by the parties and makes a “finding of fact.”
Once the parties are finished representing evidence, the judge at a workers’ compensation hearing usually does not make a ruling on the issues in dispute. Instead, the attorneys prepare a written brief which is considered the closing argument of the case. The judge will then apply the Georgia Workers’ Compensation Act to the fact to reach his / her decision.
Have more questions about the hearing process? You can contact our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys at (770) 629-9321.