If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, do not be afraid to fight back. It is common that insurance companies to look for ways to not have to pay benefits. The first thing you need to do is file a Request for Hearing which you find on this page at the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA) website. Either use the online submission version or print out the pdf version and send that in. If you send it in by snail mail, have your submission registered, or use the green form at the postal service office to have it certified.
Your next step is to hire an Arizona workers’ compensation attorney because you will be going up against the employer’s insurance company and you need someone to help with the ins and outs of navigating around that company. Your attorney can prepare you for what you can expect and how you should respond to get the best outcome for your case.
Never lie to your attorney about anything in your case and do not lie when you go to court and meet the judge, especially after taking the oath, to tell the truth, while on the stand. Here are a few tips on preparing for your court-appointed hearing with the ICA-assigned judge.
Collect all your evidence and if anything is missing or not collected before, go find what you need. Contact your fellow workers who were present at the accident and who are willing to sign a paper stating what they saw happen that day. Get CCTV copies of the accident if there was a camera recording in the area that day. Your attorney may have to file paperwork to get that done on an official level. Hopefully, there is also a time stamp on the video. Here is a good website to help you with pulling together the different pieces of evidence you will need when attending your hearing in front of the judge.
Once all your evidence is collected, review it several times to make sure you remember all the details of the accident. After even a short time beyond the accident, you may forget a few crucial things that can help you with your case. If there are pieces of evidence you forgot to include in the initial claim, write it down and ask your attorney whether you can use that information in front of the judge.
Do not use anything that a witness says as it is what they saw, not you, as you were involved in the accident. Someone may have seen something that you could not see because of what was happening to you and the direction you were facing at that time. Stick only to what you know and experienced.
Your attorney may suggest doing a dry run of questions you might be asked so that you can get comfortable with answering questions in a stressful situation. Practice answering questions directly and without a lot of fluff added in. Practice good breathing and stay relaxed.
You will also be cross-examined by the insurance company’s representative so have your attorney practice this with you. While it is unlikely that this representative might goad you far enough to make you angry, do not fall for it if it happens. Remain calm.
Dress conservatively in dark colors (i.e., black, navy blue) so that the attention is on your face and not on your clothes. If you have a suit, wear that to look respectable. For ladies, a pants suit with a jacket or a long dress (knee-length or lower) with long sleeves and a high neckline should be sufficient. You can wear your outfit to the attorney’s office to make sure it will work well.
Always remain calm and respectful when answering questions and speak up loud enough to be heard by the court transcriber and everyone else, especially the judge. Do whatever the judge tells you to do without complaint. Remember to never show you are upset at any time due to the opposition’s questions.
While it is unlikely that the judge will declare for your claim in this hearing, if it happens, say (gratefully) “thank you very much.” Do not jump up and down (you’re injured, right?) and scream with happiness. A decision can be made within a few days, however. Your attorney will have a good idea of how the hearing went, based on past similar cases.
Others who may be requested to attend your hearing, aside from your attorney, you, and the insurance representative, are your employer’s representative, your witnesses, the court reporter, and a court bailiff or security officer.
Arizona Injury Law Group offers experienced and Certified workers’ compensation lawyers and legal services for injured workers. Call for your free consultation! 602-346-9009.
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