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Do I Have to Attend My Workers’ Compensation Hearing in Ohio?

Ohio disability lawyer with an injured worker at a workers' comp hearing.

It is often important for you to attend your workers’ compensation hearing so that you can introduce testimony and evidence pertinent to your position on the matter at hand. If you have a lawyer, he or she will advise you as to whether your attendance is necessary. There are occasions that your lawyer will be able to handle the matter without your appearance.

If you’re considering appealing an issue to a hearing, reach out to the Ohio workers’ comp attorneys at Heller, Maas, Moro, & Magill Co., LPA today. Our legal team can tell you whether your attendance is necessary and, if so, what to expect. The idea of testifying can make some people nervous, but having a lawyer in your corner can make all the difference.

Questions? Schedule a free consultation today. There’s no obligation.

What Should I Do Before My Workers’ Compensation Hearing?

You can improve your chances of securing maximum workers’ compensation benefits by being prepared. This starts with getting all of your documentation in order.

Collect any relevant evidence to support your claim, including witness statements, the doctor’s report, and any additional medical records.

It may be difficult to determine what additional evidence will be needed to support your workers’ compensation claim. An experienced workplace injury lawyer can identify what you need to build a compelling argument and collect it for you. An attorney will also prepare you for the hearing by reviewing what questions to expect and how to answer them.

Will I Have to Speak at My Hearing?

It’s possible that you will have to speak at your workers’ comp hearing. A hearing officer will be present to hear the dispute. While some ask injured employees several questions, others ask very few or none at all. However, if you are represented by an attorney, your lawyer may be able to do much of the talking for you.

What Types of Questions Will be Asked at the Hearing?

The exact questions you will be asked depend on the specific facts of your case. Potential questions may include:

  • How did your injury happen?
  • What were you doing at the time of the accident?
  • How long have you performed that job?
  • Have you sustained this type of injury before?
  • Did you report the injury to your employer? If so, when?
  • When did you go for medical treatment?
  • Why didn’t you go to the doctor right away?
  • What treatment has your doctor recommended?
  • When did you last work?
  • How long did you receive training for the job?
  • Were you provided protective equipment?
  • Do you have any pre-existing conditions?

Understandably, many people feel anxious at the idea of answering questions in an official proceeding, especially when important workers’ compensation benefits are at stake. Remember, however, that you are not on trial. Attorneys on the other side will certainly ask pointed questions, but they are generally not there to frighten you. And if you do hire a lawyer for the appeal, you can have the comfort of knowing that someone will be by your side who has your best interests at heart.

Will a Decision be Made at the Hearing or After?

During the hearing, a hearing officer will hear arguments from you and your employer. Once the hearing is over, he or she will consider all arguments and make a decision. This decision is not usually announced the same day as the hearing.

A written record of proceedings, with the decision, will be mailed to you, usually within a week.

What Happens if My Claim is Denied?

There are three levels of administrative appeal that can be used, if you are unhappy with a decision made in your claim. These are the district, state, and Commission levels. If your claim is denied at the district level, you can then request a staff hearing. If your claim is still denied, you can make an appeal to the Commission level. If you still disagree with the decision after the administrative appeal process has been exhausted, you can then take your case to court.

How Long Does the Appeals Process for a Workers’ Comp Claim Take?

The length of time it takes for your workers’ comp claim appeal will depend on how many levels of appeal you have to go through. According to Ohio law, you must have a district hearing within 45 days of filing the appeal. The Commission may make a decision on your case within seven days, although in some instances, it may take longer.

If your claim is denied at any other level, you will usually have a hearing within 45 days of filing your appeal. The amount of time it will take for a hearing officer to make a decision will vary from anywhere between a few days to several months.

How Can an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Help?

If you need to file a workers’ comp claim or appeal, the Youngstown workers’ compensation attorneys at Heller, Maas, Moro, & Magill Co., LPA are here to help. Our accomplished legal team can support you through every step of the Ohio workers’ compensation process. We will collect the evidence needed to build a strong case for you; prepare you for any hearings; and work to achieve the best possible outcome for you. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.