What Questions Are Asked at a Workers’ Compensation Hearing?
If you’ve never experienced a workers’ compensation hearing, you may have several questions regarding what to expect during the legal process. Winning a workers’ compensation case depends upon several factors, including witness testimony, evidence, and adequately preparing for any questions that may be asked of you during the trial.
Most cases are settled before going to trial. However, if the plaintiff and the defendant cannot agree on settlement terms, the case will proceed to a trial phase in which testimony will be required. Preparing for your testimony ahead of time is one of the best decisions you can make to ensure that the defense doesn’t expose any weak spots in your case. Below are some of the most common questions asked during the trial to help you to prepare in advance.
Most Common Questions Asked During a Workers’ Comp Hearing
Typically, the questions at a workers’ comp hearing will involve any of the following subjects:
- Background Questions
- Educational Background
- Job Training and Incident Details
- Your Work with the Defendant
- Medical History
- Ability to Work
Answering these questions in a way conducive to your case is best practiced with an attorney experienced in handling workers’ compensation cases. An attorney will help to prepare you for any questions the defense might try to throw your way and ensure you give yourself the best chance of winning your case.
Background questions typically include relatively basic things such as your name, educational background, whether you have been in the military, and whether you have any professional certificates or licenses. While questions regarding your academic and job background will not affect opinions regarding your on-the-job injury, the defense may still try to use them to find problems within your current job search, especially if you’re applying for positions outside of your current range of skills. Expect them to also ask questions about your past employment, including wages paid and hours worked.
Job Training and Incident Details
Just because you were hurt at your current job does not necessarily mean you are entitled to compensation for lost wages. You must prove that the injury did not result from a previous injury or preexisting condition. Questions surrounding this topic include whether or not the employer provided a pre-employment physical, what the job description involves, how many hours you were expected to work, and the amount you were paid.
Additionally, you will be expected to testify about the incident, including details surrounding the actual event, what body parts were injured, what medical treatment you received, and how and when doctors instructed you to return to your workplace.
Consider any medical issues you have had in the past to be free game for questioning during a trial, including injuries detailing as far back as childhood. Expect to explain the types of treatments you received for your workplace injury, the names of your physicians, and any current follow-up treatments and restrictions you may be living with currently as a result of the injury.
Ability to Work
In order to receive a maximum settlement offer or win your case, you must show proof that you are either unable to work or, if you can, that you are looking for a job within your current abilities. You will need to show proof that you are actively looking for a job and log which places you have applied to work. Additionally, you may also be asked about any of your current hobbies or interests.
It’s not entirely unusual for the defense to hire a private investigator to verify the accuracy of your answers to any of the questions above, so be sure you are being completely honest with any of your testimony. Hiring a lawyer with experience in dealing with workers’ compensation claims guarantees a far more favorable result than attempting to undergo a trial alone. With adequate preparation and sound legal counsel, you should expect a positive outcome from your workers’ compensation case.