The discovery process is the part of a workman’s compensation claim where each side – the worker and the insurance company – seeks to find out more information in preparation for the hearing.
The insurance company’s discovery process will normally involve three aspects, for which each client will be prepared: interrogatories, depositions, and an independent medical examination. The insurance company’s attorney will send interrogatories (written questions) to the injured worker, which must be answered. As your attorney, I will prepare these answers with information you have provided.
In a workers compensation case, the insurance company will normally want to conduct a deposition of the injured worker, which is where the injured worker is required to answer questions under oath asked by the attorney for the insurance company. As your attorney, I will help you prepare for the questions that are likely to be asked by the attorney for the insurance company, and will be with you at the deposition.
Finally, the insurance company will usually require the injured worker to undergo an independent medical examination. The injured worker must then go to a doctor chosen by the insurance company for evaluation.
When Does Discovery Occur?
Once a hearing is requested, the injured worker is advised of the initial hearing date within 30 days . The initial hearing is normally scheduled approximately 60 days from the date of notification. Discovery is then conducted from that point until approximately two weeks before the first hearing.
The Discovery Process
As your workers compensation attorney, I will send interrogatories, or written questions, to the lawyer for the insurance company to learn what evidence and defenses the insurance company will be presenting. We will also help you to deal with the discovery that the insurance company is obtaining.
The Independent Medical Examination
Independent medical examinations (IMEs) are often conducted by the insurance company when the issue being litigated involves the injured worker’s medical condition. The insurance company will choose a doctor (an independent medical examiner) to examine the injured worker and write a report. The doctor may state that the injured worker has nothing wrong with him, or that whatever is ailing the worker is the result of another cause.
How the injured worker is perceived by the examining doctor can affect the results of the examination. As your workman’s comp lawyer, I will suggest some ways to try to make a favorable impression at the IME.
Contact the Law Office of Stephen L. Weiss today.