Maryland Workers Comp Hearings

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Maryland Workers Compensation Hearings

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What is a Maryland Workers Compensation Hearing?

Workers compensation hearings are one of the more stressful events that take place during a workers compensation case.  The injured workers is often left with wondering why are we going to a hearing, what is the hearing like, what will happen, do I need to attend the workers comp hearing, or what will I have to know or say while testifying?

Where will it be:

First and foremost an injured worker should know where they will need to go for their hearing. Here is a list of site locations for the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission hearings: Hearing locations.   Most of the time hearing are scheduled at the location that is closest to the injured workers home.  While this is the goal of the workers compensation commission this does not always play out accurately.  To determine where your hearing will take place contact your attorney or if you do not have an attorney contact workers compensation attorney Andrew Rodabaugh and he will be able to assist.

Why is there a hearing:

A workers compensation hearing is necessitated when there is a dispute between the injured worker and the workers compensation insurer.  One of the parties filed “issues” which generate a hearing date.  “Issues: are filed when a party has an issue with something that is or is not occurring in the workers compensation claim.   There could be a number of reasons why a workers comp hearing is scheduled.  One of the most common reasons for a hearing being scheduled is because the insurance company is challenging your case.  If you recently filed a workers comp claim with the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission and received a hearing notice within 60 days then it is quite possible that the case is being challenged.  If the case is not being challenged then the hearing may have been generated because you are not receiving some workers comp benefit to which you are entitled.   If you have been out of work by doctors orders and you are not getting paid then there is a good chance the hearing is to address this issue.  If treatment has been recommended but you are not receiving authorization for the treatment then there is a good chance that will be addressed at the hearing.  If the case is coming to an end then perhaps your workers compensation claim was set for a hearing for you to obtain a permanent partial disability award.

When will I receive a decision?

Once the hearing has concluded the workers compensation commissioner/administrative judge will often explain to the injured worker when they can expect a decision.  Very seldom is a decision made the day of the hearing.  Depending on the case complexity as well as the Commissioner a decision can be expected anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.  Very seldom does it take a workers comp Commissioner longer than a month to make a decision.

What parties will be in attendance?

Most of the time the injured worker will be required to attend the hearing although in some instances if the hearing is set in on a medical argument only the injured worker may not have to testify.  In some circumstances if the reason for the hearing will be resolved and a hearing is only necessary so that the attorneys can have the Commissioner pass an Order reflecting the resolution.  In essence the parties resolved the issue at hand but still want a Commissioner to issue an Order so that there is confirmation of the agreement.  In these circumstances an injured worker will not be required to attend the hearing.

Other than the attorneys for each side there are a number of others that could be in attendance.  First off it should be known that all workers compensation hearings are held in a venue that only other workers compensation hearings will take place.  There will be no criminal law proceedings or family/domestic dispute cases.  Therefore the people in the gallery will only be other parties to other workers compensation claims.

The defense/insurance attorney may have a representative from the workers compensation insurance company or a representative from the employer present.  They could also have any potential witness to the case such as those who witnessed the accident, those who are in management, or those who are in the human resources department of the employer.

While the hearing takes place there will be a Commissioner/Judge, a stenographer who takes down testimony via stenograph, court security, and those who also have a workers compensation hearing that day.

What takes place at a Workers Comp Hearing in Maryland?

The morning of the hearing an injured worker will meet up with their attorney and should expect to discuss the proceedings.  Some attorneys choose to prepare their clients the morning of the hearing while others choose to prepare their client in advance.  Each injured worker will be assigned a hearing room and a corresponding Commissioner.  At roughly 9:30am the cases will begin being called.  An initial roll call will take place and then one by one a case will be called. 

Once your case is called you should know what you will be expected to testify about.  This could vary- testimony explaining what caused the filing of the workers compensation case, how the injury took place, why treatment is needed, why the injured workers compensation claimant is not able to work.   

Do I have to have an attorney at a Workers Comp Hearing?

Insurer/employer will always have an attorney present at the hearing unless there is no workers comp insurance.  In some instances employers will have failed to secure workers comp insurance and they may attend the hearing without an attorney however this does not normally happen. Employers and injured workers alike will be encouraged to obtain legal counsel at the time of the hearing if they have not already retained a workers compensation attorney.

For additional reading regarding workers compensation hearings go here.

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Andrew M. Rodabaug, Maryland workers compensation attorney and personal injury attorney does not provide legal advise through this website on any of its pages or posts.  The information contained therein is for informational purposes only.  For legal advise Workers compensation attorney must be consulted in person.