Based in Columbia, the law firm Lear Werts LLP represents employees who have been denied workers' compensation benefits by their employer or its insurer. The Missouri workers' compensation system is designed to give injured workers the opportunity to settle their claims before they reach a trial. However, while negotiations may enable employees to recover benefits relatively faster than a hearing, they are not always successful at achieving the maximum amount of compensation possible. If your benefits dispute is approaching a final hearing, our attorneys are here to help you assert your rights as an employee.
Understanding the Final Hearing Process
A final hearing is an evidentiary hearing that may be requested by any party to your claim. To commence the final hearing process, the requesting party may file a Request for Hearing - Final Award, and simultaneously send a copy to all other parties. The hearing should only be requested when all of your medical treatment has concluded, and all of the parties have had sufficient time to prepare their medical evidence and other expert evidence for the hearing. Your medical treatment is complete when a doctor certifies that you may return to work or when you complete treatment because your condition has reached "maximum medical improvement". The final hearing is always "on the record" and a verbatim record will be made for the reviewing tribunal.
Extensive preparation is required to build a successful workers' compensation case. During the prehearing phase, we must establish and disclose which witnesses, evidence, and defenses we will use to substantiate your claim. At Lear Werts LLP, we employ experts early in the claim process; therefore, when we need expert testimony or depositions during the hearing, the expert is able to speak with authority and familiarity regarding your work-related injury.
At the conclusion of evidence, the administrative law judge may allow the parties to file "briefs" in the case. These briefs are written statements of legal analysis, applying the law to the facts of the case and arguing each party's position. Our attorneys have extensive experience drafting persuasive briefs that may work to bolster your claims and solidify your arguments. Furthermore, at Lear Werts LLP, we do not use paralegals. Every element of your case will be handled by a skilled workers' compensation attorney.
Seek Experienced, Quality Representation
If your workers' compensation claim is approaching a final hearing, it is imperative to seek qualified legal representation. Like any trial, a workers' compensation hearing requires an in-depth knowledge not only of procedural issues, but also the means and methods of presenting evidence, witnesses, and defenses. If you were injured at work and need to claim disputed benefits, please contact Lear Werts LLP today to discuss your options under Missouri's workers' compensation system.