Do I have to go to Court to get my Workers Comp?
A lot of injured workers may be worried about going to Court to get their workers compensation benefits. You may not have to go to District Court, but you may end up in an Administrative Law Hearing. Very few cases actually end up in district court on a worker’s comp claim. Whenever you get injured on the job, you file your claim for compensation, the insurance company will process the claim, the insurance will then accept certain parts of the claim and likely deny certain parts of the claim. If you are unsatisfied with the insurance company's denials, then you would first request a Benefit Review Conference. A benefit review conference would be held at the Division of Workers Compensation Office. So its not downtown District Court. Its more like an office conference where both parties sit around a table to try to resolve their issues with a mediator present. The benefit review conference works similarly to a mediation but you will only have 45 minutes to try and resolve your matter with the insurance company.
If you cannot resolve your matter with the insurance carrier at the Benefit Review Conference, you can then request to see a Workers Comp Judge, also known as, a Hearing Officer or Administrative Law Judge. This hearing with the Judge is whats called a 'Contested Case Hearing'. This hearing will be held at the Division of Workers Compensation Office. So once again, its not a 'downtown District Court' type of proceeding. These Contested Case Hearings are about 2 hours long and are conducted in the Judges very own office. It’s a very informal process but its certainly not anything to be worried or frightened about. Almost all the time it will just be you, your lawyer attorney, the insurance company’s lawyer attorney and the judge. Thats it! No jury involved. Not open to the public either. Now the Contested Case hearing does have important legal consequences if you don’t do things correctly. That’s why it’s important that hire an experienced workmans comp lawyer to assist you.