Burden of proof is a legal term that refers to one party’s obligation to prove their case. For example, in a criminal case, it is the prosecution’s job to convince the jury that the defendant is guilty. The burden of proof will always fall on one party or the other in every legal case. Who carries the burden of proof in workers’ compensation cases? Here’s what you need to know:
An Overview of the Workers’ Compensation Claim Process
When an employee sustains a work-related injury, he is typically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits through his employer’s insurance company. Most of the time, the insurance company or the employer will make sure that the injured worker receives the benefits that he deserves. But sometimes, the two sides are unable to reach an agreement on their own. When this happens, the injured worker must take his case before an administrative law judge to fight for benefits.
The administrative law judge will need to hear from both parties before determining how to rule. This is the point in the process where the burden of proof comes into play.
Who Has the Burden of Proof in Workers’ Compensation Cases?
The burden of proof falls on the injured worker in workers’ compensation cases. Basically, this means that the injured worker is responsible for proving to the administrative law judge that his injury is covered by the workers’ compensation system and he is therefore entitled to benefits. This must be proven by a “preponderance of evidence,” meaning the injured worker must present evidence that shows their argument is more likely than not correct.
The injured worker is welcome to present any evidence that strengthens their case. Some common types of evidence that are used by injured workers in these hearings include witness testimony, pictures from the scene of the accident, medical records, and transcripts of depositions.
Because the burden of proof falls on the injured worker, it is not up to the insurance company or employer to prove that the worker is not entitled to workers’ compensation. However, the insurance company usually does present evidence to prove their case anyways. It is important to be prepared so the evidence presented by the other party does not weaken your case.
Don’t carry the burden of proof alone--let us help. The experienced attorneys at Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. can present a clear and convincing case that proves you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with a skilled attorney.