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Workers’ Compensation: The Hearing Experience

Monday, July 29, 2019

It recently occurred to me that I am now in my 35th year of handling hearings before the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board. When I began doing this work in Brooklyn, back in 1985, the atmosphere at the Workers’ Compensation Board was quite different. One of the most notable changes is that in 2019 there are more women practicing in the workers’ compensation field. Easily half of the attorneys and insurance company representatives appearing before the Board today are women. At one time, every hearing room was staffed with a stenographer who took down the minutes of the proceedings. They have all been replaced by a digital recording system. Virtual hearings have been part of the system for over a year now. I usually tell my clients not to be surprised to see that one or more of the participants in the hearing (including the Judge) will appear on a television screen. Electronic files have been an integral part of the system for a long time now, although many of the attorneys and representatives still rely on old fashioned paper. 

One thing that has not changed is the need to have our clients well-prepared for their hearing. It is always a good idea to check in with the lawyers two or three days before the hearing to confirm the date and time and also to see if any documents need to be brought to the hearing. That could include earnings records, medical reports or documentation of work search just to name a few. If your case is scheduled for testimony, the lawyer may want to meet with you beforehand to prepare you for the experience.The weather, especially in the winter months or hurricane season, can have an impact on the hearing schedule and result in delays or cancellations. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy back in 2012, hearings were cancelled in the Suffolk District Office for several days due to lack of electrical power. Although it is a good idea to get to your hearing 15 to 30 minutes before scheduled, it may not always go off on time. My suggestion is to bring a good book or magazine. Using headphones is probably not  great idea because you may not hear you name when called on the public address system.

If you, or a loved one, is in need of assistance in obtaining or receiving benefits due to a work injury, please contact the experienced lawyers at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco, and Rosasco at 855-280-7586 for a free no-obligation consultation.

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