While it may be true that the majority of workers’ compensation claims are resolved through settlement, there are still many that go to a hearing before the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission (WCC). According to its 2019 Annual Report, of a total 41,585 claims received, 12,023 cases were docket referred to the WCC Judicial Division for a hearing. The reasons vary, but usually center on some dispute over eligibility for benefits or the amount at stake.
If your workers’ comp claim falls within the 29% of cases that go to a hearing, it is critical that you know what to expect and how to prepare for the process. Your Virginia workers’ compensation attorney will advise you on the specifics, but some general information may help.
Even though you already submitted numerous documents in connection with your workers’ comp claim, you will need to collect them for purposes of the hearing. You and the insurance company will be presenting discovery packages for the WCC judge to review in advance of the proceeding; both parties will also exchange discovery packets. Together with your lawyer, gather:
Because one focus of the proceeding could be your medical condition and limitations, make sure you bring all assistive devices and equipment that you rely upon on a daily basis. The WCC hearing may last a few hours, so pack up medication and any items you may need for comfort. In addition, dress accordingly by wearing appropriate business attire.
The hearing is similar to a trial, with both parties and a WCC judge being present. Each side will have the opportunity to:
Because you are the claimant seeking workers’ comp benefits, you will be called to testify at the WCC hearing. The process starts by your own attorney asking you questions about the circumstances that lead to your work-related injuries or occupational disease. Your lawyer will work with you beforehand to ensure that you are comfortable. Then, the insurance company’s attorney will have a chance to question you, so it is important to note that the topics may revolve around:
When you properly prepare for a hearing and have skilled legal counsel on your side, going through a WCC hearing does not have to be an overwhelming experience. For more information, please call Hampton Injury Law PLC to set up a no-cost case evaluation right away. A Virginia workers’ compensation attorney can explain more about the hearing process, assist with preparations, and represent you during the proceeding.
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