Worker's Compensation Hearings Always Pose a Risk to the Client
Worker's compensation clients generally feel very strongly about either proceeding all the way to their final hearing (the "trial" in a worker's compensation case), or trying to avoid it altogether. For those that want to "have their day in court," they often believe that the outcome at the hearing will be better than whatever settlement offer has been made by the defense. Whether they believe their case is strong, or they simply believe the process will be fair to them, the belief that they will receive a favorable outcome is tempting. However, in every case that proceeds to hearing, there is always the risk that the client could walk away with little or nothing. If a case is likely to produce a clear favorable outcome, the defense is likely to want to settle the case because they are afraid of a favorable outcome for the client. When the case is not quite so strong as to concern the defense, the settlement offers are not as tempting and the clients often believe that the hearing decision will be better. Yet the hearing process is highly unpredictible since it is not possible to guess what a deputy may believe or how she or he will interpret the facts as presented. Additionally, even if the outcome is favorable to the client, the hearing decision is not immediate and can take over a year before the deputy issues the decision. Even then, the defense may appeal and it will take yet another year before a final decision is reached. Money is always a concern for anyone with a worker's compensation injury claim and sometimes it is better for some clients to accept a settlement offer that will allow them to collect money within a matter of weeks rather than wait two years to get a decision that maybe is not as favorable as they had hoped. These are all risks that are involved in the worker's compensation hearing process, and that must be weighed by the client before deciding to proceed to hearing. We are always willing to proceed to hearing for all of our worker's compensation clients, but we also understand that sometimes that choice is not in the best interest of our clients.
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