In many cases, injured employees are quickly awarded the compensation they are entitled to by law. But unfortunately, some injured workers find it very difficult to secure workers’ compensation benefits. If a dispute arises with the employer or insurance provider, the injured employee has the right to request a hearing with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Before the hearing occurs, the parties involved must go through the discovery phase of the workers’ compensation claim. Here’s what you should expect during this important step in the process:
What is Discovery?
Discovery is the stage of the workers’ compensation case where both parties gather evidence to support their claim. For example, the injured employee may focus on gathering evidence that proves that his injury is work-related. On the other hand, the employer or insurance provider may focus on gathering evidence that proves the employee sustained his injury outside of the workplace.
Types of Evidence Gathered During the Discovery Phase
A number of different types of evidence may be collected during this step of the process. Both parties may be interested in obtaining the injured employee’s medical records and time cards, for instance. If there was surveillance footage of the accident, this could be valuable to either party as well.
It’s common for both parties to collect additional evidence by conducting depositions, which are sworn testimonies. The injured employee will most likely have to sit for a deposition, and co-workers, witnesses, and medical professionals may be deposed as well. The transcripts of these depositions can then be used as evidence during the hearing.
Your attorney will handle the investigation and gathering of evidence during this stage. If you are asked to sit for a deposition, your attorney will thoroughly prepare you so you know exactly what to expect.
What Happens After Discovery?
Both parties are required by law to exchange all of the evidence they plan on using to support their case with one another. This exchange must take place at least 20 days before the hearing so both parties have plenty of time to review the evidence.
The evidence that is gathered during the discovery phase will then be presented during the hearing. In workers’ compensation cases, the burden of proof falls on the injured worker. This means that the injured worker--with help from his attorney--must present evidence that proves he has sustained an injury that is covered by the workers’ compensation system.
If you have sustained a work-related injury, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our experienced attorneys stand by your side through every step of the workers’ compensation claim process to ensure you are fully compensated for your injuries. 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.