Injured at Work — Will I Have to Face the Judge?
If you get injured at work and file a Workers’ Compensation claim, it’s likely that you will have to appear before the judge. If the insurance company accepts your claim and starts to send you checks for your lost wages and pays your medical bills, at least initially you won’t have to go before the judge. However, if the insurance company denies your claim on the basis that you didn’t injure yourself, or if you did your injury didn’t prevent you from doing your job, you’ll need to file a Claim Petition in order to get benefits. This will be assigned to a Workers’ Compensation Judge, who will preside over your case and decide whether you are entitled to benefits. You’ll want an experienced lawyer with expertise in Workers’ Compensation to represent you in these proceedings — the lawyers at Pearson Koutcher Law specialize in Workers’ Compensation — it’s all we do — and will zealously represent you.
You will have to testify before the judge and describe every facet concerning your claim, including the job you were performing at the time of your injury, how you injured yourself, doctors you have seen, and why you’re unable to do your job. At the beginning of your case, you may testify by deposition at your lawyer’s office, but eventually, before your case is decided, you will have to go into court and testify before the judge.
Even if your claim is initially accepted, in all likelihood there will come a time when you will have to testify before the judge. The insurance company will have you you evaluated by a doctor of their choice, and if that doctor says you have fully recovered from your work injury or have recovered to the extent that you can return to your job, a petition will be filed to terminate or suspend your benefits, which will be heard by a Workers’ Comp. judge. You will have to testify before the judge and explain why you have not recovered from your injury and are not yet able to go back to work.
Many Workers’ Comp cases result in a settlement — the insurance company agrees to pay the injured worker a lump sum of money in exchange for which the injured worker gives up the right to receive wage loss and medical benefits in the future. If that happens in your case, you will have to go into court and testify before the judge that you understand the terms of the settlement, which are set forth in a document called a Compromise and Release Agreement.
Here’s the bottom line: if you get injured at work, before your case is over, you’re going to have to testify before the judge, and you’ll need one of the lawyers at Pearson Koutcher Law by your side. Please call for your free, comprehensive consultation.