The first or preliminary hearing before the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board is called Mandatory Settlement Conferences or Pre-Trial Conferences. This is a means to bring all the parties together in a “ formal/ informal” attempt to settle the case short of trial. The parties will attempt to resolve/narrow the issues and discuss settlement. You do not give testimony at this hearing.
Generally, during the hearing you will be in the waiting room. Discussion between your representative and the defendants will take place in hearing rooms and from time-to-time, you will be updated on the progress of settlement, if any. Approximately 75% of the cases settle at a conference and the remaining 25% usually settle prior to trial. If your case does not settle at the time of this hearing, it will likely be set for trial.
As with any other case, a trial is a formal presentation of your claim to the judge in order to obtain an opinion. Document evidence, generally medical reports are submitted and testimony is taken from you and any witnesses called by your attorney and the defendants. The case is then submitted to the judge for his decision.
This is generally a lengthy process and can take several months in order for the judge to issue an opinion. Once that opinion is made it becomes binding on all parties. However, either party does have the right to appeal the decision.
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I liked the way Mr. Mehlhop handled my case, he was very professional at all times. I feel like he did the best he could considering my wages.