Virtual Hearings at the Workers’ Compensation Board
The Workers Compensation Board recently implemented a new procedure for hearings, called “Virtual Hearings”. This procedure allows you along with your attorney and insurance representatives the option to appear by computer video conference. According to the Workers’ Compensation Board, virtual hearings were implemented as a convenience because you are now able to appear at a hearing without having to leave your home or office. However, virtual hearings bring about some very concerning issues.
As the virtual hearing process stands now, anyone (employer, insurance company, etc.) can access your hearing as long as they have the code printed on your hearing notice. This creates a privacy concern as they may not be authorized to attend your hearing. These concerns still have not been adequately addressed by the Workers’ Compensation Board.
Additionally, the outcome of your case may be affected if the attorney from the insurance company is not physically present in the courtroom to resolve outstanding issues with your attorney. Because you do not have to state whether you will appear virtually or not prior to the hearing date, all of your paperwork and evidence from your doctor along with your job search evidence must be submitted in sufficient time so that it is viewable in the Workers’ Compensation Board’s Electronic Case File system. This will require that all evidence your attorney requests from you be submitted as early as possible. Unfortunately, bringing evidence to your hearing may harm your right to benefits. If the insurance company or the employer does not submit the required evidence, this could also result in an unnecessary delay in your case.
While some people are happy with the new virtual hearing option, many feel this is the Workers’ Compensation Board’s attempt to impede our ability as attorneys to serve as your advocate. At Segar & Sciortino, we will continue to stand next to you in person at your hearings to help you get all the benefits you deserve.
Segar & Sciortino has served Western New York for 25 years in the areas of Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Disability and Personal Injury (Accident) Law. Call us today at (585) 475-1100 or fill out our form for a free consultation. Local experience you can trust to get the benefits you deserve.