A workers’ compensation hearing is a formal presentation of a case by all interested parties before an administrative law judge of the State Board of Workers’ Compensation. Evidentiary and procedural rules apply as they would in a normal trial; however, there is no jury, the hearing is much less formal than a regular trial, and the hearing ordinarily lasts only a few hours instead of a few days or weeks.
Administrative law judges rarely issue their decisions during or immediately after a workers’ compensation hearing. Instead, they usually give the parties an opportunity to submit a post-hearing legal brief in which the parties can summarize the facts, legal issues, and law in the case, and present arguments as to why the administrative law judge should rule in their favor.
After the administrative law judge review the parties’ legal briefs and evidence presented at the hearing, he or she will issue a decision that outlines his or her Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Award.
A workers’ compensation hearing is quite different from a workers’ compensation mediation, and the biggest difference lies in who has control over the result of the case. With a hearing, the administrative law judge has full control over the outcome of the case, whereas with a mediation, all of the interested parties have some input and at least some control over the result in the case.