Workers’ Compensation Hearings in Columbia, MO

Step-By-Step Guidance Through the Workers’ Compensation Hearing Process

Navigating a workers’ compensation claim is no easy task – especially when claimants have injuries to heal and lives to repair. But as challenging as filing even just an initial claim can be, the need to attend a hearing before the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation due to a dispute can make the case even more complex. 

Fortunately, our workers’ compensation team at Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C. can help. 

Led by a team of top-rated trial lawyers, our firm has helped countless workers and families across Boone County fight for benefits after suffering work-related injuries and illnesses. If you’ve encountered difficulties with a workers’ compensation claim or have been notified of the need for a hearing, we’re here to help.

Our Columbia workers’ compensation hearing attorneys serve clients across Boone County and beyond. Call (888) 287-1046 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

What Is a Workers’ Compensation Hearing?

A workers’ compensation hearing is a crucial stage within the workers' compensation claim process. This proceeding is designed to resolve disputes between an injured worker and their employer or the employer's workers’ compensation insurance provider regarding issues pertinent to a workplace injury or illness and potential benefits. 

Reasons for Workers’ Compensation Hearings

There are various reasons to request a workers’ compensation hearing. For example, you may request a hearing if:

  • Your claim has been challenged by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer.
  • There are disputes over coverage for specific health conditions.
  • There are disputes about your injuries or medical treatment you’ve received. 
  • There are disputes about your benefits, including the benefit amount or duration.

What to Expect at a Workers’ Compensation Hearing in Columbia, MO

Having to attend a workers’ compensation hearing can feel stressful. At Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C., we’re dedicated to helping workers understand how the hearing process works, what they can expect, and how we can help them fight for the benefits they deserve.

Here’s a brief breakdown of what to expect with your workers’ compensation hearing. 

Before a Hearing

  • Purpose of the Hearing. The primary goal of a workers’ compensation hearing is to provide a fair venue for claimants and employers/insurers to argue their respective positions on unsettled disagreements. Each side has an equal opportunity to present evidence, such as medical records and expert testimony, and make a case before an impartial decision-maker – a specialized legal authority known as an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
  • Hardship & Final Hearings. In Columbia, workers’ compensation hearings are either hardship hearings, which concern disputes over medical treatment and temporary total disability benefits that can be resolved through temporary or partial awards, or final hearings, which usually take place once workers have reached maximum medical improvement and need a final resolution of their claim.
  • Hearing Locations. Workers’ compensation hearings are held in Department of Labor & Industrial Relations offices. Cases from the Columbia region are typically held at the Department’s Jefferson City office, which is located at 3315 West Truman Blvd. This office covers Boone County and several surrounding counties, including, Camden, Hickory, Morgan, Miller, Callaway, Gasconade, Cole, Maries, Moniteau, Osage, Linn, Macon, Shelby, Saline, Chariton, Randolph, Crawford, Dent, Phelps, Benton, and Pettis Counties.
  • How to Prepare. Administrative Law Judges who preside over hearings cannot help you prepare for or present your case. Because these hearings can have such a significant impact on your ability to obtain benefits, the Labor Department encourages claimants to work with attorneys who can help them prepare accordingly. At Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C., we help clients gather necessary evidence (including medical records, details about the injury or illness, and testimonies from medical or vocational experts) and structure compelling cases to present during hearings. 

The Hearing Process

  • During the Hearing. During the hearing, which is conducted much like a trial but in a less formal setting, each party has the right to:
    • Present witnesses and cross-examine the opposition's witnesses
    • Introduce evidence to support their case
    • Make oral and written arguments
    • Be represented by an attorney
  • The Judge’s Role. After ruling on any objections and hearing all admissible evidence and testimony, the ALJ presiding over the case will issue a decision. The ALJ is not your advocate and will not aid in helping you present your case, which is why it’s important to exercise your right to retain legal representation. 

Outcome & Appeals

  • Possible Outcomes. A workers’ compensation hearing can culminate in several ways. This may include a voluntary agreement (settlement) reached during the hearing that provides compensation to the worker without the need for further litigation. If no settlement is reached, the ALJ may issue a Final Award or a Temporary or Partial Award. When workers are awarded benefits, they can begin receiving them in as little as two weeks.
  • Appeals. Both parties to a hearing have the right to pursue a workers’ compensation appeal. You may request an appeal if you were denied benefits or if there are aspects of the ALJ’s decision with which you do not agree. There are strict timelines for requesting appeals, which include a review from the Missouri Labor and Industrial Relations Commission or, in later stages,  judicial reviews by the Missouri Court of Appeals or Supreme Court. 

Parties in a Workers’ Compensation Hearing

  • Injured Worker: The individual who has filed the workers' compensation claim.
  • Employer: The employer or a representative of the company may attend.
  • Insurance Company: A representative of the insurer providing the workers' compensation coverage.
  • Legal Representatives: Attorneys representing either party may be present to advocate on behalf of their clients.
  • Witnesses: Individuals who can offer testimony pertinent to the case, including coworkers or medical professionals.

Will I Need to Attend a Hearing For My Workers’ Compensation Case?

Not every workers’ compensation case requires a hearing. In fact, the Missouri Division of Workers’ Compensation reports that most cases are successfully resolved through mediation or settlement. However, roughly 5% of cases do require a hearing to resolve disputed issues.

Whether your case will be one of the few that proceed to a hearing depends on the circumstances involved. Some issues can increase your chances of needing to attend a hearing, such as discrepancies in documentation or disputes about key issues such as eligibility, the nature and cause of your injuries, and more. 

Working with an attorney from the very outset of your workers’ compensation claim can help mitigate some of these risks and position you more effectively to negotiate a fair settlement. If a hearing is necessary, having an advocate by your side can ensure that you’re able to quickly prepare, gather evidence, and create the strongest possible case. 

Questions About a Columbia Workers’ Comp Hearing? Call (888) 287-1046.

Workers’ compensation hearings are challenging and consequential matters, and they deserve to be treated with the same respect and care as legitimate trials. If you have a claim that requires you to attend a hearing or if you’re dealing with disputes that could lead to one, the time to act is now.  

Aaron Sachs & Associates, P.C. is a nationally recognized firm dedicated to fighting for injured victims and workers. We’re known as passionate advocates and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Our Columbia workers’ compensation hearing lawyers are standing by to discuss your case and how we can help.

To request a FREE consultation, contact us online or call (888) 287-1046.

  • “My husband was in a car accident, we called Aaron Sachs, and are very glad we did! First of all, they sent someone to our home to interview my husband, so he did not have to drive all the way to Springfield to their office while he was in pain.” - Former Client
  • “I was rear-ended by a non-insured driver. My car was totaled and I ended up having surgery on my shoulder. I was thrilled to get a settlement way larger than I could have dreamed.” - Former Client

Our Core Principles

  • Accessibility

    We make sure that we are available to answer our clients’ questions, breaking down the complex legal jargon and using plain English. There is no “one size fits all” answer — your case needs and deserves individual attention, and this is what we are prepared to provide.

  • Professionalism

    Our team has over 235 years of combined experience, handling over ten thousand personal injury cases. We are committed to professional excellence in every aspect of what we do and how we do it. We have over 65 employees with an exclusive focus on injury claims.

  • Understanding

    We strive to meet our clients where they are and provide the service they need. Suffering an injury is a difficult time in an individual’s life; you need representation that understands both the worries you may be feeling and the world you are now dealing with. Let us help ensure your rights are protected.

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