What happens during a workers comp hearing will depend on the status of the claim. Workers comp hearings are held at the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board. Currently, all hearing participants may attend each hearing virtually. Information about how to attend a workers comp hearing virtually is located on the hearing notice.
Who attends a workers comp hearing?
The usual participants in a workers comp hearing include the Judge, the injured worker, and an insurance carrier representative. The injured worker may also hire a workers comp lawyer. If they do, the worker’s comp lawyer will also attend the hearing. Sometimes, the parties will call witnesses to testify at a hearing. The Board digitally records all hearings.
During a workers comp hearing, the parties discuss all current issues in the case. Each party states their position to the Judge on each issue. The Judge then either makes a decision on the record, or directs further proceedings. The losing party may appeal the Judge’s decision by requesting further review within the Workers’ Compensation Board. That party may also appeal outside of the Board to the Supreme Court, Appellate Division. Some Workers Comp appeals may even reach the Court of Appeals, which is New York’s highest Court.
Any testimony provided by the injured worker or witnesses at the Workers Comp Board is given under oath. Decisions made at the Workers Comp Board may also impact a civil lawsuit stemming from the same work accident. The parties may use transcripts from a workers comp hearing at trial in New York State Supreme Court.
Why request a hearing?
Typically, the Board will only put a workers comp case on for a hearing when there is a disputed issue. In rare cases, a workers comp claimant may never have a hearing. To request a hearing, the insurance carrier or injured worker must file a Request for Further Action with the Board. Under limited circumstances, the Board will unilaterally put the case on for a hearing, such as when the insurance carrier has filed a treatment denial. But in most cases, a hearing must be requested.
During a workers comp hearing, the parties and the Judge will review materials in the electronic case folder. Only a party of record has access to the the electronic case folder, known as “E-Case.” The electronic case folder contains prior decisions, treatment requests, and medical records.
Typical issues resolved at a workers comp hearing include degree of the injured worker’s disability and the carrier’s denial of requested treatment. Another common issue resolved at a hearing is the extent of the injured worker’s permanent disability. What happens during a workers comp hearing often depends on the skill of the injured worker’s lawyer. A skilled workers comp lawyer who is versed in the law and workers comp process can push the case toward a more favorable resolution.