What Happens at a Workers’ Comp Trial?
Your doctors have issued their ﬁnal reports. Your workers’ compensation attorney has made a settlement demand. You have received an oﬀer. Now it is time for you to decide to either accept the oﬀer or go to trial with your workers’ compensation case.
This newsﬂash will provide you with insight about what you can expect at a workers’ comp trial.
Workers’ Compensation Trials Do Not Have Jurys.
First, workers’ compensation trials are not like those you see on the news, or on television shows like Night Court, The Lincoln Lawyer, or All Rise. The court rooms at most Workers’ Compensation Appeals Boards are less formal. There is no jury. Your trial is heard by a single administrative law Judge. Others present at your workers’ compensation trial include your attorney, the defense attorney, an employer representative, and a court reporter. That’s it.
Second, The judge will listen to your testimony and other witnesses. The judge will make their decision based on the doctors’ medical reports and the testimony. Trials can last either a few hours, or even several days. At the end of the trial, the judge will not announce their decision. Then, approximately 30 days after the trial ends, the judge will issue their written decision.
The Judge Can Not Award You More Money Than Is Set By Statute.
Finally, the judge is bound by statute as to what issues they can hear at trial and to what money can be awarded. They can award you temporary disability benefits for up to two years of time off from work, money for permanent disability (your injuries), and for future medical care, but the amount of money you receive for permanent disability is set by statute and determined by the doctors. Therefore, the judge can not award you more money than is set by statute. The judge can not award you money for pain and suﬀering.
If your injury occurred on or after January 1, 2014, and you go to trial, then the amount of money you are awarded by the judge for permanent disability will be paid at $290.00 per week. The judge can not award you a lump sum of money. The judge can award you lifetime medical care, but can not order your employer to pay you a lump sum amount of money to buy out your right to lifetime medical care.
Ford & Wallach are experts in trial settings and have handled thousands of cases. Our experienced team of workers’ compensation attorneys is here to guide you through the California workers’ compensation system. We work closely with attorneys in other legal specialties such as employment law, personal injury, and Social Security. Ford & Wallach can refer you to these attorneys for matters that often overlap with a workers’ compensation injury.
Ford & Wallach offers a free case evaluation. Contact us by email or call 213.380.3140.