After you file a claim for worker’s compensation benefits, that claim is assigned to a worker’s compensation judge. Different judges have different procedures and rules regarding when and how evidence is presented. According to Insureon, most cases involve scheduling of three or four hearings over the course of several months. All cases consist of three main parts.
As a claimant or an injured worker, you have an opportunity to testify about how the injury happened, what injuries you have, and the medical treatment you are getting for your injury. Your doctor will testify, usually by deposition taken at the doctor’s office, about the treatment he or she has been giving you. The doctor would give his or her opinion about the kind of injury and whether the injury prevents you from work. The doctor might also be asked whether you can do some other kind of work if your injury prevents you from doing your regular job.
The worker’s compensation insurance company will have a doctor examine you and then testify on their behalf. This doctor will also give an opinion as to the kind of injury you have, and whether your injury prevents you from work. A judge would usually conduct a final hearing at which time he or she will accept the evidence and listen to briefs.
Briefs are the arguments made by both sides as to why the judge should find in their favor. It is important to know there is no set timeline when a judge has to make a decision. Typically, workers’ compensation cases take nine months to a year to litigate. Once the judge’s decision is received, you or your employer can appeal the decision.