If you have filed a claim for benefits in the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, you may very well end up in a court-type hearing. You will likely face a lawyer for the insurance company experienced in appearing in court and handling workers’ compensation claims at this hearing.
Most hearings are scheduled for only 30 minutes, within which both sides are allowed to present their case by way of testimony, records, and other evidence. Often, this is not nearly enough time to fully explain your claim, and the insurance lawyer has a strong advantage in that they do this for a living and are well-skilled in “trying a case.”
Your claim is decided based upon the evidence presented in court. The judge is not supposed to “speculate” or consider evidence not presented. The regular rules of evidence are not as strictly enforced as a criminal trial or civil trial, but they still apply in many situations. It is more than likely that most injured workers are not familiar with the Rules of Evidence, which can be fatal to your whole claim, even if you believe it is “obvious” that you should win.
Having a skilled, experienced workers’ compensation lawyer on your side at a hearing can make a massive difference in your claim’s outcome. You need someone that knows “the system” and how to present evidence at a hearing. Not doing so may permanently prevent you from getting much needed medical and financial help through workers’ compensation benefits. If you have a claim, call an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as you can.
The statements contained herein are for general information purposes only. They are not considered specific legal advice to your situation. Mr. Shoen would need to meet with you individually to ensure client confidentiality and need additional information not provided. This article does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please consult directly with an attorney for legal advice.