What Happens at a Worker’s Compensation Hearing?

For the most part, a worker’s compensation hearing involves the testimony of the injured worker before the judge and any witnesses for, or against, the worker.  Most hearings take less than an hour.  There are exceptions.  The hearing takes place before 1 judge typically in a smaller room.  The judge is an administrative law judge and usually makes a decision anywhere from 30 to 120 days after the hearing.  In most cases, the most important evidence in a hearing is the medical records.  Most disputes in worker’s compensation cases revolve around the medical aspects of the case such as whether an injury is work related and/or whether the worker requires more treatment.  After the injured worker and the witnesses testify, the judge will make a decision after the hearing.  If the outcome of the hearing is not acceptable to either party, either party does have the right to appeal to the Full Board which consists of 7 judges.  In most cases, the full board gives a lot of weight to the decision of the original judge and it is typically difficult to receive a reversal of the single hearing member’s decision.  Beyond the Full Board, either party can try to appeal to the Indiana Court of Appeals and eventually the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court does not have to accept every case.  The Supreme Court can reject hearing a case.

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