Questions Asked at a California Workers’ Comp Hearing
If you were hurt on the job in California, you have the right to workers’ compensation. You have the right to have your medical expenses covered, and you are entitled to a portion of the income you would be receiving were you able to continue working. Employers and workers’ comp insurance providers are not, however, always willing to accept a workers’ comp claim at face value. They may challenge your eligibility, your injuries, your treatments, your ability to return to work, or the total amount of your coverage.
If your workers’ comp claim is denied, or if there is a dispute as to the total amount of your compensation, you could wind up at a workers’ compensation hearing. It is important to come prepared for your hearing, with evidence and answers at the ready. Below, the seasoned Southern California workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Dulio R. Chavez, II, discuss many of the questions you are likely to face at a workers’ comp hearing.
Questions About the Incident
You can expect to be asked detailed questions about the incident that led to your workers’ compensation claim. Both your attorney and the attorney for the insurer will want to paint a complete picture of what happened, who was at fault, and whether it was the type of accident that should be covered. Some of the questions you are likely to field include:
- What exactly happened leading up to the accident?
- Who was involved? What was each person doing? Who caused the accident?
- What safety rules applied to the situation? Was everyone following those safety rules?
- Was anyone flagrantly violating safety rules, such as by operating machinery while intoxicated?
- Provide a step-by-step explanation of the accident.
Questions About Your Injuries, Limitations, and Medical History
In addition to the accident, you are likely to face detailed questions about your injuries and your ability to perform work duties. You will be asked about:
- The extent of your specific injuries
- Your pain levels before, during, and since the accident
- Specific diagnoses from your doctors
- Estimated recovery times provided by your doctors
- Your ability to perform regular life activities, such as cooking, cleaning, playing with your kids, and exercising
- Your ability to perform your typical work duties
- Your ability to perform modified work duties or other actions for a similarly-situated job position
- Your medical history, including every doctor and hospital visit over the past few years
- Any pre-existing injuries or conditions
Make sure to have medical records at the ready to address these questions. It is important to avoid accidentally downplaying or exaggerating your injuries, or making statements without evidentiary support to back you up. It is also important to be forthcoming about previous injuries and illnesses. Even if your recent workplace accident exacerbated an existing injury, you could still be entitled to workers’ comp coverage. Discuss the matter with your attorney. Do not give the insurance provider any reason to doubt your claims or limit your coverage.
Questions About Your Treatment
Your treatment is relevant to show that you were actually injured, that you are truly unable to work, and to demonstrate your need for workers’ comp to pay your medical bills. Expect questions concerning your treatment, including:
- Treatments recommended by your doctor
- Alternative (cheaper) treatments available
- Treatments you have undergone, treatments you have refused (and the reasons why), and treatments you expect to undergo
- Likely cost and extent of the recommended treatments
- Physical therapy, nursing care, surgeries, and other ongoing or expected future treatments
- Expectations concerning medical devices such as crutches, wheelchairs, or prosthetics
Questions About Your Conduct Since the Injury
Beyond the accident itself, the injuries that resulted, and the effects on your life, employers and workers’ comp insurance providers will ask about how you have behaved since the injury occurred. They will be looking for reasons to limit your coverage by either calling into question the severity of your injuries or by showing that your behavior since the accident has caused your injury to get worse or delayed your recovery. You may face questions such as:
- What has your daily life been like since the accident?
- Have you followed all of your doctors’ recommendations, including medication, physical therapy, stretching, limitations on physical activity, and others?
- Have you performed any recreational activities that could have put a strain on your body, such as playing sports, exercising, or going on trips?
If you have social media posts showing you living a regular life, exercising, or otherwise engaging in strenuous activity, you can expect to have those pictures and statements addressed at your hearing. Even innocuous-seeming posts showing you happy and walking may be used against you to limit your claims. Always be wary of what you share publicly, even if you are just trying to assuage the worries of your family and friends following your accident.
Get Effective Help With Your Workers’ Compensation Claims in Pasadena and Southern California
For dedicated, professional, and compassionate legal assistance with a workers’ compensation claim in Southern California, contact the Arcadia Law Offices of Dulio R. Chavez, II, for a free consultation at 626-357-3303.