When Does a Workers’ Compensation Case Go to Trial?

Workers’ compensation cases are typically handled outside of court, and in many cases, there’s little dispute over what you’re owed. That said, there are instances where you’ll need to put a little extra pressure on your employer’s insurance provider, in which case involving an attorney is necessary.

Most of these disputes are handled strictly as a negotiation process with the insurance company, but they may go to trial in certain circumstances. Workers’ comp trials are reviewed by an arbitrator under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, and they function much as any other arbitration hearing would.

Here, we’ll discuss the circumstances under which a workers’ compensation case would go to trial.

Benefits Denied and Settlement Impossible

If the insurance company denies benefits unjustly, the first step is to contact your attorney. They’ll start negotiations with your employer’s insurance in an effort to get you what you’re owed. If reaching a settlement isn’t possible outside of court, and if you have a viable case, your attorney should be able to take your case to trial.

Benefits Discontinued

Another instance where you’d take a workers’ compensation case to court is if your benefits have been discontinued. By law, if it has been three years since your case was filed, a trial is technically mandatory. On the other hand, if you are still receiving benefits, a trial isn’t necessary under this law.

There are a few reasons why your benefits may be discontinued. For instance, if you have reached maximum medical improvement (MMI) and are able to return to work, you’ll no longer be entitled to workers’ compensation. That said, there are instances where the insurance company will determine that you are at MMI when that isn’t actually the case. In these instances, you need a workers’ comp attorney.

Potential for Higher Compensation

One final instance in which you’d go to trial is if there is a good chance that you’ll get a higher amount of compensation. Trial hearings are risky by nature since they are win-lose scenarios, but there may be a higher amount attached to a successful court hearing. If the insurance company keeps lowballing your settlement amount, and if you have a strong case, then your attorney can take the case to trial and get you a higher amount.

Should I Take My Case to Trial?

While each of these scenarios may necessitate taking your workers’ compensation case to trial, doing so isn’t always the best scenario. Going to court means extra expenses and time, and there is often a good chance that it won’t be successful.

If your case doesn’t have sufficient evidence or if it has significant flaws, then going to trial probably isn’t the best idea. There’s too much of a chance that it will fail.

On the other hand, if you have a justifiable cause for going to trial and sufficient evidence, and if settlement negotiations haven’t turned up favorable results, then going to trial may be the best option.

Throughout this process, you’ll need legal representation. Hart David Carson LLP helps injured workers receive the compensation they deserve, so contact us today to review your case.

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