NC Workers’ Compensation Hearings are needed when a dispute arises between an employer and employee. If you have been denied for workers compensation by your employer or if your employer is refusing to pay for needed medical treatment, read on.
All claims for workers’ compensation benefits in the state are supervised by the North Carolina Industrial Commission. When a dispute arises between the injured worker and the employer, it is brought before a Deputy Commissioner for the Industrial Commission, and the Deputy Commissioner determines the outcome of the dispute. The Deputy Commissioner hears the dispute during a formal process called a hearing.
To request a hearing, you must file a Form 33, Request That Claim Be Assigned for Hearing. Once a Form 33 is filed, the parties must participate in a mandatory mediation to attempt to resolve the dispute without a hearing. If the parties are unable to come to a full agreement at the mediation, the remaining dispute moves on to the hearing. It generally takes two to three months after the mediation for the dispute to be assigned a date for the hearing.
Before the hearing, your attorney and the defense attorney are required to provide the Deputy Commissioner a list that includes who is expected to testify at the hearing; what documents, such as your medical records, will be accepted as evidence; and what depositions will occur after the hearing. Unless you and your attorney agree otherwise, you will testify at the hearing to provide the Deputy Commissioner with the context of your work injury.
In the months after the hearing, your attorney and the defense attorney will depose your treating physicians. Once the depositions are complete, then your attorney and the defense attorney will draft briefs arguing the different sides of the dispute. The Deputy Commissioner assigned to the case then reviews the medical records, the transcript from the hearing, the transcripts from the depositions, and the lawyers’ briefs. The Deputy Commissioner’s decision will be based on all this information and can take several weeks to be finalized. Either side may appeal the decision from the Deputy Commissioner to the Full Commission.
All in all, the hearing process can take several months from the time you file the request for hearing and when the decision is actually made. A great deal happens during those months that may not be clear from the outside. A NC Workers’ Compensation attorney can help you understand the hearing process.
The Bishop Law Firm represents injured workers in Raleigh, Cary, Fayetteville, Durham, Rocky Mount, Wilson, Smithfield, Louisburg, Chapel Hill, Roanoke Rapids, Greensboro, Winston Salem, Greenville and surrounding areas in North Carolina. We do not get paid unless we win your case and we offer free case reviews by phone, (919) 615-3095.
Also read NC Workers’ Compensation FAQs