Workers Comp 101: Know what to expect when your case is filed

Michigan workers comp lawyer explains the various hearing dates that an injured worker may encounter while fighting to receive benefits.

Pretrial: A few months after your workers compensation case is filed, you will receive notice of a pretrial hearing.  If you are represented by an attorney, you do not need to attend the pretrial hearing. The magistrate assigned to your case will not take any action and will simply set a new hearing date for about 60 days later.

Mediation: Some workers comp cases will not be set for pretrial but will be scheduled for mediation.  This usually occurs when the issues in the case appear to  involve only medical or a small amount of workers comp benefits.  Mediation is an informal process where an agency mediator will attempt to bring the parties together in the hopes of resolving their differences.  If mediation is unsuccessful, the case will be assigned to a magistrate for further action.  Sometimes a magistrate will suggest mediation to help resolve the case.

Control Date: A control date is a type of hearing where both parties to a workers comp case appear in court with the magistrate to ensure that all medical has been exchanged and that the case is moving forward. Control dates occur about every 60 days and several are needed before a magistrate will set a firm trial date.  These hearings are very important because it gives both sides the  opportunity to develop the issues and discuss resolution.  If you are represented by an attorney, you will not need to appear for this type of hearing.

Facilitation: Most workers comp cases must go through facilitation before trial can begin.  Facilitation gives both sides the opportunity to informally present their arguments to  another magistrate who will not be deciding the case.  The magistrate will attempt to come up with a dollar amount to settle the case.  Neither side has to accept the amount suggested by the magistrate.  Many workers comp cases are resolved through facilitation.

Trial: This is a formal hearing before a magistrate who will hear evidence and make a determination as to the facts and law.   Witness testimony will be taken under oath and is always recorded.  Other evidence submitted at trial includes medical records and deposition testimony from doctors and vocational experts.  Trial can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days.  Even if your case is scheduled for trial on a specific day, the magistrate may order the parties to come back on another day.  Many workers comp cases are settled the morning of trial.

Redemption: All workers comp settlements must be approved by a magistrate.  The        magistrate will be given a brief explanation as to why the workers comp case is being settled.  The magistrate will also want to hear that the injured worker understands what benefits are being given up as part of the settlement.  A magistrate will rarely deny a settlement if the injured worker is represented by an attorney.

Insurance companies and employers hire law firms specializing in workers comp for the sole purpose of reducing or eliminating the payment of benefits. We believe that every injured or disabled worker deserves to know his or her legal rights so that they can be on equal footing.

To speak with one of our workers comp attorneys, call (855) 221-COMP for a free consultation.  There is no fee unless workers comp benefits are recovered for you.

- Alex Berman is the founder of the law firm. He’s been representing injured and disabled workers exclusively for more than 30 years. Alex has helped countless people obtain workers compensation benefits and never charges a fee to evaluate a case.

Related Information:

Workers compensation lawyer advice: Your work comp rights in Michigan

How much is my workers comp case really worth?

02/01/2011
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