Not all workers’ compensation claims go as swiftly as claimants hope. Some injured workers run into problems with their claims and have to seek resolution through the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC) hearing process. If a hearing is necessary, your attorney can help you submit the required forms, secure a hearing date (which is generally held within 60 days of the request), and help you prepare evidence to share with the administrative law judge (ALJ) that will preside over your case.
The Bader Law Firm is available to answer any questions you may have about your benefits, an upcoming hearing, or how to handle denied claims in Savannah. Call the Bader Law Firm at 678-562-5595 and request a free legal consultation at your convenience.
Why would I need to request a hearing?
There are several reasons a hearing might be necessary during a workers’ compensation case.
- Denied claims – This is one of the most common reasons workers need to attend a court hearing. If you disagree with the insurer’s denial of your claim, you have the right to request a reconsideration hearing with the ALJ. This hearing gives you the opportunity to present additional facts that support your case and ask the Board to reverse the denial.
- Catastrophic determinations – If you believe your injury was catastrophic in nature, you will need to request a hearing to obtain an official designation as catastrophic. This is important because if the insurer labels your case catastrophic, you will potentially qualify for both lifetime income and medical benefits. At the hearing, the ALJ will review your medical evidence and make a determination.
- Unfair terms – You might also have to request a hearing if the insurer made decisions about your case that you do not agree with. Examples include prematurely ceased benefits, unfair impairment ratings, and disagreements about wages and benefit amounts.
- Change of condition – Lastly, if you have a significant change in your condition that would change your benefits, you might need to request a court hearing to address it. For instance, if you went back to work on light duty but then your condition worsened, you will likely need a hearing to prove that your employer needs to reinstate your benefits.
What can I expect during the court hearing?
During the court hearing, the ALJ will hear both sides of the story, review and discern the evidence, and reach a decision at the conclusion of the hearing. The parties generally present at the hearing are the ALJ, the claimant, the employer/insurer representative, and the attorneys for both the claimant and the employer/insurer.
This is the time to present any new evidence that you have compiled to the ALJ. Medical evidence will be a huge part of your case. Some of the information you and your attorney will likely compile include:
- Second opinions
- New testimonies from medical experts
- Prior medical records
- Proof of treatments
It is important to be very well prepared prior to your hearing and gather as much convincing evidence as possible. Before the hearing, each party will have an opportunity to request facts and information from the other party. This is the process of discovery. There are a lot of pieces of evidence that are discoverable, such as employee files, depositions, investigation reports, and in some cases, surveillance photos and videos. Your lawyer can assist with this process.
You might also be required to provide a deposition. During the deposition, the other party’s attorney will ask you a series of general questions about your case, which you are required to answer under oath. A stenographer will transcribe everything at the deposition, which you can use as evidence at the court hearing. It can be a little unnerving to depose, but your lawyer can help you prepare.
How can the Bader Law Firm assist me with the hearing?
When you work with the Bader Law Firm, we can facilitate your work injury case, no matter the stage it is in. From filing your original claim to helping you appeal a decision, we are equipped to handle any task related to workers’ compensation in Georgia. We practice workers’ compensation law exclusively, so we are much more familiar with cases of this nature and court hearings with ALJs than most firms that only devote a portion of their practice to work injuries. With our highly trained staff, rolodex full of reputable medical experts we can consult for your case, and in-depth knowledge into this particular field of law, we can be an asset to your case.
If you are in need of a work injury lawyer in Savannah, call the Bader Law Firm for a free consultation. We can advocate on your behalf and fight for the benefits you deserve. Contact us today at 678-562-5595.