Workers' Compensation Hearings

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Workers’ Compensation Hearings in New York

Step-by-Step Guidance From A Proven Queens Legal Practice

Navigating a workers’ compensation claim can be challenging, especially if you’re dealing with pain, disability, and setbacks created by a workplace injury and when you’re facing disputes, denials, and difficulties with an employer’s workers’ compensation insurer.

Fortunately, our attorneys at the Harris Firm, LLC are passionate about helping injured workers across New York City protect their rights and position themselves to recover the benefits they need. Often, this requires us to represent their interests at hearings before members of the New York Workers’ Compensation Board and workers’ compensation judges.

If you’re facing a workers’ compensation matter that requires you to attend a hearing, the time to enlist experienced legal counsel is now. At the Harris Firm, LLC, our award-winning workers’ compensation lawyers help workers and families across Queens and all other NYC boroughs prepare for hearings with a personalized and experience-driven approach.

We’re standing by to help, and offer FREE consultations. Call (718) 487-8669 or contact us online to learn more.

What Is a Workers’ Compensation Hearing in New York?

Workers injured or sickened on the job have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits, which can provide medical treatment, supplementary wages, and other important benefits.

While workers’ compensation claims can often be effectively and efficiently handled (especially with the help of a lawyer) so that workers are able to quickly begin receiving benefits, there are times when disputes arise that can’t be resolved through negotiations or mandatory settlement conferences. These disputes can happen for various reasons. Some examples include:

  • Insurers disputing the validity of a claim
  • Disagreements about the extent of injuries or amount of compensation due
  • Disputes over injuries being work-related
  • Contentions that injuries did not occur when an employer’s insurance policy was in effect

When disputes like these arise, claims examiners and conciliators from the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board will first attempt to resolve issues through negotiations.

When those negotiations or settlement conferences fail, the Board of Workers’ Compensation will then hold hearings in front of a workers’ compensation judge. The judge listens to each side (the injured worker and the insurer), weighs testimony and evidence, reviews medical records and wages, and issues a decision about whether a worker should receive benefits and the value of any award.

What to Expect at a NY Workers’ Compensation Hearing

Here’s what you can expect before, during, and after a workers’ compensation hearing in New York

Before a Hearing

  • Purpose: The workers’ compensation hearing aims to gather evidence, testimonies, and legal arguments from both sides to aid the judge's decision-making process.
  • Location: Hearings take place at various Workers’ Compensation Board offices. You can choose a hearing site located near your home or may elect to have a Virtual Hearing that allows you to attend the hearing using an app on your smart phone or computer.
  • Preparation: Prepare by gathering all relevant medical records, incident reports, and any communications pertaining to your injury and employment. Having an attorney working on your case can ensure that you gather the necessary information needed to support your side of the story during your hearing.
  • Conduct: Hearings are formal proceedings where decorum should always be maintained. The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board outlines standards of civility for hearings and other proceedings for all involved parties on its website. Speak with your attorney prior to your hearing to understand what’s expected.

During a Hearing

  • Hearing Process. At the beginning of a hearing, the judge will review preliminary matters (if any exist), explain hearing procedures, and give each side an opportunity to make an opening statement. Later, each side will present evidence, including medical reports and witness testimony, to support their positions, and be given opportunities to cross-examine witnesses. Many hearings are quite efficient and can be resolved in a matter of hours. Others with more complex issues or disputes may take longer.
  • The Judge’s Role. During the hearing, the judge will rule on objections, hear evidence and testimony, ask questions to witnesses, and more. Their job is to take this information and make a decision based on what they’ve been presented.
  • Possible Outcomes. After a hearing, the judge will review evidence and make a decision regarding your benefits, extent of disability, and other claim-related matters.

After a Hearing

  • Moving Forward. If a decision was rendered in your favor, you will be able to receive needed compensation and benefits according to the judge’s award, usually within 14 days of the decision. In some cases, you may need to comply with the judge’s orders and may need to attend additional hearings or periodic medical evaluations. As such, it is important to continue to care for your injuries when ongoing medical treatment is needed and to keep the claims administrator updated about your progress.
  • Appeals. If you were denied benefits or disagree with other aspects of the judge’s decision, such as their ruling about the extent of your disability or your compensation award, you have the right to file an appeal. If you do choose to appeal, you must file an application withing a certain period. Our attorneys at the Harris Firm, LLC routinely help workers navigate the workers’ compensation appeals process and can evaluate your options during a consultation.

Why Request a NY Workers’ Compensation Hearing?

You may request a hearing if:

  • Your claim has been contested by your employer or their workers’ compensation insurer.
  • There are issues related to the calculation of your benefits.
  • There's a dispute related to medical treatment, the extent of your injuries, or other important aspects affecting your case and your benefits.

Who Attends a Workers' Compensation Hearing?

  • Injured Worker: You, the claimant, must attend unless legally excused.
  • Legal Representative: Your attorney, if you've opted for legal representation.
  • Employer/Insurer Representative: Usually an attorney or a claims specialist representing the employer's interests.
  • Witnesses: These are usually medical professionals and others with knowledge of the incident or your condition.
  • Judge: A workers' compensation law judge who presides over the case.

Do I Have to Attend My Hearing in Person?

While you should discuss the facts of your workers’ compensation case personally with an attorney to understand what’s required of you, New York State does allow claimants in workers’ compensation cases to attend hearings virtually.

Virtual hearings allow injured workers, witnesses, and other participants to attend hearings online using mobile devices or computers that allow for video. You can more about the Virtual Hearing process here.

FAQs About Workers' Comp Hearings

What issues are addressed during a workers' compensation hearing?

Workers' compensation hearings address various issues, including the extent of the injury, eligibility for benefits, the amount of compensation, disputes over medical treatment, and any other relevant matters related to the claim.

How is evidence presented during a workers' compensation hearing?

Evidence, such as medical records, witness testimony, and expert opinions, may be presented by both parties to support their respective positions. This evidence helps the judge make an informed decision regarding the claim.

How long does a workers' compensation hearing take?

The duration of a workers' compensation hearing can vary depending on the complexity of the case, the number of issues to be addressed, and other factors. Some hearings may be resolved in a single session, while others may require multiple sessions.

How long do I have to file a workers' compensation claim in New York?

In New York, injured workers generally have two years from the date of the injury to file a workers' compensation claim. However, there are exceptions to this timeframe, so it's essential to seek legal advice promptly if you've been injured on the job.

Are workers' compensation hearings open to the public?

Workers' compensation hearings are typically not open to the public. They are private proceedings conducted to resolve specific disputes between the parties involved in the claim. However, certain individuals directly involved in the case may attend.

What happens if I miss a workers' compensation hearing?

Missing a workers' compensation hearing can have serious consequences, including the dismissal of your claim. It's crucial to attend all scheduled hearings or notify the Workers' Compensation Board in advance if you cannot attend due to a valid reason.

Can I receive compensation for lost wages during the time of the hearing?

In some cases, injured workers may be entitled to receive compensation for lost wages during the time they attend a workers' compensation hearing. However, specific eligibility criteria apply, and it's advisable to consult with an attorney to understand your rights.

What should I expect during cross-examination at a workers' compensation hearing?

During cross-examination, the opposing party's attorney may question you or other witnesses to challenge the credibility or validity of your testimony. It's essential to remain calm, truthful, and consistent in your responses while answering questions.

Can I settle my workers' compensation claim before the hearing?

Yes, it's possible to settle a workers' compensation claim through negotiation before the hearing. Settlements may involve a lump sum payment or structured payments for medical expenses and lost wages. Consulting with an attorney can help you assess whether a settlement offer is fair and reasonable.

Do I need an attorney for a workers' compensation hearing?

While it's not mandatory to have an attorney, having legal representation can be beneficial. An experienced attorney can help navigate the complex legal process, gather evidence, and advocate for your rights effectively.

Speak With a Queens Workers’ Compensation Hearing Lawyer Today.

The Harris Firm, LLC is devoted to fighting on behalf of injured workers and families in all matters related to New York workers’ compensation. From filing initial applications and attending hearings to providing aggressive representation during appeals, we’re committed to guiding clients toward the outcomes and compensation they deserve. Our firm handles cases involving all types of work accidents, work injuries, and occupational illnesses.

If you have questions about a workers’ compensation hearing anywhere in New York City, we want to help. Give us a call at (718) 487-8669 or complete an online consultation form to request a FREE case evaluation.

The Opinions That Matter Most

Our Clients Share Their Experiences With Us
  • Mr.Harris handled my case perfectly

    “I know that I can rely on him and his team. They have been very attentive.”

    - Saidou K.
  • I changed my attorney to Mr.Harris and it was the best decision I've made

    “This attorney established an increase on my WC benefit checks and he even helped me get retro paid checks that I was not receiving due to my other attorneys not handling my case the correct way.”

    - Genesis A.
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