What Questions Are Asked at a Workers’ Comp Hearing?
If you are hurt while working in California, you have the right to compensation for your injuries. You have the right to get your medical bills covered, a portion of your missed income repaid, and compensation for temporary or permanent disability. If your employer or the insurance company disputes coverage, either as to the amount they should pay or whether the injury is covered at all, you may find yourself testifying in a hearing before a court. Court proceedings can be intimidating, especially when faced with a hostile lawyer on the other side. To alleviate some of the apprehension, it helps to know what to expect. Continue reading to learn about the types of questions that are asked at a workers’ comp hearing, and reach out to an experienced Arcadia workers’ compensation lawyer if you or a loved one has been hurt on the job in Los Angeles or the Inland Empire.
General background questions
You can expect to answer some basic questions about your background and history, including your:
● Full name
● Date of birth
● Living arrangement
● Marital status
● Social security
● Tax filing status
Education and training
In addition to your personal background, you can expect to be asked about your education and on-the-job training. The answers may not relate directly to the incident or your injuries, but they may be relevant to, for example, your job search efforts after an injury. Expect questions about your:
● Education, including high school, college, trade school, military, etc.
● Training, including on-the-job and external training, certificates, etc.
To qualify for workers’ compensation, your injury must have taken place at work or while performing work-related duties. Additionally, your past employment history may be relevant to the value of your claim, for example, by showing the change in your wages after the accident. You can expect to be asked questions about your:
● Previous jobs, including wage or salary amounts and hours worked
● Date of hire at current job, including date assigned or promoted to your current position
● Date of promotion to current position
● Description of your job, including hours worked, wages received, training received (including safety training), job qualifications
Questions about the incident and the resulting injury
The meat of the hearing is likely to concern the accident itself and the resulting medical treatment. The court will be looking to evaluate whether your accident is covered, whether there are any relevant exclusions, the response of your employer, etc. Topics likely to arise include the following:
● Precise details about the incident: What was the date, what happened, who was there, who caused it, was it preventable?
● Was anyone flagrantly violating any safety rules, such as being intoxicated while operating machinery?
● The nature of your injury: What specific body parts were injured? How severely? Did you lose a limb? Have you permanently lost any function? What pain have you experienced and expect to experience?
● How did you respond to the accident? When did you report the incident to your employer? Did you seek medical attention immediately or wait?
● What medical treatment did you receive? What are the diagnoses and prognoses for your injuries?
● What treatments did your doctor recommend?
● Have you been following your doctor’s orders for optimal recovery? Physical therapy, limited strenuous activity, medical treatments, medication, diet and nutrition, etc.
● Your medical history, including pre-existing conditions and whether you were given a pre-employment physical
Ability to work
Finally, you can expect to face a series of questions targeted at your ability to work following the accident. The parties will be trying to establish whether you can return to the same or a similar job now, whether you can return to work in the future, and whether you could have been working up to this point, if you have taken time off to recover. Areas of questioning include:
● Extent of your injuries
● Ability to perform your job duties
● Ability to perform job duties in a related position
● Any temporary or permanent disability, according to your physician
● Loss of feeling, loss of function, loss of limb, whether temporary or permanent
● Extent of pain resulting from your injuries, including past, present, and future
● Your job search, if relevant: What jobs have you been applying to, if any? Will any employers hire you with appropriate restrictions?
● Your hobbies and activities outside of the workplace (to establish whether you are lying about the extent of your injuries)
This list of questions is far from exhaustive, but it will give you some idea of what to expect at a workers’ comp hearing. The best thing for you to do is to prepare in advance with the help of your workers’ comp attorney. A seasoned California workers’ comp attorney will ensure that you know what to expect, that you have your answers ready, and that you have the documentary evidence collected to support your answers.
Help with Your Workers’ Comp Claims in Arcadia
If you’ve been hurt on the job in Southern California, get help securing the insurance coverage and other money damages you deserve for your injuries. Contact the talented and passionate Arcadia workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Dulio R. Chavez II and Associates for a free consultation at 626-357-3303.