Preparing for Your Illinois Workers’ Compensation Hearing

Workers' Compensation
Preparing for Your Illinois Workers’ Compensation Hearing
August 02, 2021
Pinkston Law Group PC
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You’ve been injured on the job, and that is difficult enough. While most workers’ compensation claims settle – if the workers’ compensation insurance provider refuses to negotiate fair terms in good faith, your claim is especially complicated, or it contains polarizing elements – your claim may move forward to a hearing. If this is the situation you find yourself in, preparing carefully for your hearing is well advised, and the most important step you can take toward this end is working closely with an experienced Joliet workers’ compensation attorney. 

The General Process

At your hearing, both you (aided by your workers’ compensation attorney) and the workers’ compensation insurance company will have an opportunity to present your side of the matter before the judge (or hearing officer). Your attorney will outline the facts of your claim, which typically involves presenting some combination of the following:

  • Accident reports
  • Medical evidence
  • Eyewitness testimony

Additionally, your attorney will very likely question the insurance company’s witnesses and make relevant legal arguments – and the insurance company’s attorney will do the same, which means that you will very likely be cross-questioned. The hearing process can be stressful, and because there is a lot at stake, it is important to go in well prepared. 

Gathering Discovery

An important part of your preparations is gathering discovery in your case, which typically amounts to compiling all of the following:

  • Evidence of your lost wages (as demonstrated by past pay stubs) and your employment records
  • Your related medical records and bills
  • Depositions given by involved medical professionals

It is important to begin gathering these documents early in the process. Even if your claim does not proceed to a hearing, this documentation can give you leverage within the negotiation process. Discovery typically involves written documents, which both sides present in packet form to the involved judge for review. There are precise rules and regulations regarding discovery, and failing to adhere to them can lead to barred evidence, which makes having a dedicated workers’ compensation attorney in your corner paramount. 

Providing Your Own Testimony

It is very likely that you will testify at your workers’ comp hearing. This generally includes answering questions posed to you by your own attorney and those asked by opposing counsel. The questions will likely focus on the following:

  • How you were injured
  • The limitations you’ve experienced as a result of your injury
  • The symptoms you’ve endured (and continue to endure)
  • Your education, job training, and work duties

A critical component of your preparation will include practicing your responses to the questions you are most likely to face. The goal is to answer as truthfully and succinctly as possible – without answering questions that haven’t been asked of you. Further, if you aren’t sure about an answer or do not remember, it’s important to let the person questioning you know this and not to guess or speculate.  

Seek the Legal Guidance of an Experienced Joliet Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today

Danielle Pinkston at Pinkston Law Group, P.C., is a well-respected Joliet workers’ compensation attorney who is on your side and here to help. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us today. 

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