If you suffer an injury while on the job that requires you to miss work while you recover from your injuries, you may apply for workers’ compensation benefits. Ideally, the insurer of your employer will process your claim and cover your medical payments without much delay or trouble. Still, it is possible that the insurer will deny your claim.
However, a denied claim does not have to be the final word. You can ask for a formal hearing to appeal your denial. Survivors of a deceased worker or a dependent may also file for a hearing. If you are considering asking for a hearing, you may wonder if you need to bring an attorney to the hearing.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development website, you may have an attorney represent you in your case. The law allows for any party to bring an attorney with them, so having your own legal counsel may benefit you, particularly if the other side has their own attorney present to challenge your claim. You might also want your own attorney if you do not feel confident you can present your own case.
Be aware that if you pursue a hearing, you will need to take important steps to prepare for it. According to the state of Wisconsin, you as an employee have the burden of presenting evidence that will establish your need for compensation. You may also bring witnesses to the hearing that can help support your claim. These steps, in addition to filing the necessary medical reports prior to the hearing, may be difficult to accomplish unless you have an attorney to assist you.
Ultimately, whether you retain legal representation for a workers’ compensation hearing is up to you. In the event you do not have an attorney representing you, the state Worker’s Compensation Division will schedule a conference before an actual hearing to have you and the other parties identify the issues at hand. In some cases, a worker may resolve a dispute during this conference before a hearing even commences.