A subpoena is a document that demands the recipient provide the requested records, information, or testimony on or by a specific date and time. Subpoenas are frequently used in both civil cases and the criminal justice system.
When there is a subpoena in a workers’ compensation case, it’s usually because the injured worker needs additional information or support to build a case for benefits. A workers’ compensation lawyer can use subpoenas during the claims process and while preparing for trial to force an employer, insurer, witnesses, doctors, and others to turn over their documents or give testimony.
What Is a Subpoena?
To summarize, subpoenas are legal documents that inform an individual or entity that they must play some role in an ongoing case. There are generally two types of subpoenas:
- Subpoenas for information, records, or evidence
- Subpoenas to make a court appearance and testify
Subpoenas are very common, and every law firm knows how to handle them and uses them regularly. The idea of sending or receiving a subpoena may seem intimidating, but there’s no reason to worry. If you receive one, your only obligation is to follow the instructions provided on the subpoena, such as:
- Supplying the necessary documents or other evidence before the deadline
- Providing interrogatories, which requires answering sworn written questions
- Providing a deposition, which includes sworn testimony
- Testifying in court
Subpoenas generally occur as a part of case discovery. This is the section of a civil case that occurs after filing a lawsuit but before mediation begins or the trial date arrives. During this time, both sides work to build a strong case to show that their side of the story is true.
In workers’ compensation cases, subpoenas could play a role in filing a claim or appealing a denial as well.
Why Are Subpoenas Important in a Workers’ Compensation Case?
When you have to fight for the workers’ compensation benefits you deserve, investigating what happened is essential to show you are entitled to wage loss benefits. Your attorney may need to subpoena evidence—including certain documents or statements—as part of this process.
When a civil case goes to court, the discovery process is, at its heart, an investigation into the circumstances of what happened. The only way to show the decision-makers involved that you deserve
benefits and then receive them or negotiate a fair lump-sum settlement is to present the necessary evidence. Subpoenas provide an effective way to obtain this evidence.
What Types of Evidence Could Require a Subpoena?
Some things that could require a subpoena in your workers’ compensation case include:
- Relevant records from your doctor’s office
- Documents from the insurer
- Any internal reports filed by your workplace
- Eyewitness statements
- Testimony of medical experts
- Records or notes related to a qualified medical examiner (QME) exam
- Wage documentation
- Employee personnel files
Your workers’ compensation attorney will know when and how to use subpoenas in your case. An attorney with experience should also know how to navigate the process, identify the necessary evidence to show you suffered a workplace accident, and confirm that your injuries fall under your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
Do All Workers’ Compensation Cases Go to Court?
Most workers’ compensation cases do not require taking a case to trial. Many claims go smoothly, and the employee receives benefits as promised in their policy. Other cases may require an appeal or aggressive fight for benefits as the employee’s legal team seeks fair compensation.
In some cases, the dispute escalates, and the employee and their lawyer need to take extra steps to secure benefits or negotiate a fair lump-sum payment. Sometimes, the insurance company continues to push back. Perhaps they do not believe the injury occurred at work or another issue with the case is causing a problem. When this occurs, going to trial becomes more likely.
Your attorney can explain the likelihood of your case going before a judge. Numerous factors affect how workers’ compensation attorney Los Angeles cases proceed and the possible outcomes.
Understanding Workers’ Compensation Benefits
When a worker suffers injuries on the job, most states limit that worker’s ability to sue their employer and seek compensation. Instead, many states require all or most employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage to part-time, full-time, and seasonal workers.
For example, in California Law, any employer with at least one worker must provide workers’ compensation benefits. There are few exceptions. According to California’s Department of Industrial Relations, when a worker suffers an on-the-job injury, they should file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits to receive:
- Medical Treatment and Care: The insurer should cover all necessary medical care, medications, rehabilitation, and other related costs.
- Wage Loss Benefits: You should receive a portion of your usual income while you are out of work.
- Permanent Disability Benefits: Additional compensation is available for permanent injuries.
- Supplemental Job Training or Retraining: The insurer provides vouchers for retraining, skill enhancement, or learning a new skill if your lasting injuries prevent you from returning to your job.
- Death Benefits: This consists of payment to the surviving immediate family members of a worker who passed away from their injuries.
Employers and insurers do not always make it easy to gain access to these benefits, even if you have a well-documented qualifying injury. Many injured workers hire a workers’ compensation lawyer to help them manage their claims and get the benefits they deserve or negotiate a fair lump-sum settlement. Even if your case does not go to trial, there are many benefits of having an attorney represent you.
Speak With Our Workers’ Compensation Team for Free
At KJT Law Group, our team of workers’ compensation attorneys helps injured workers fight for the money and benefits they deserve. We can discuss your injuries, assess your options, and help you determine your next steps for free today. We’re always here to answer your questions and address your concerns.
During your consultation, we will also explain our services in detail and how our contingency fees work. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. To get started, contact us online or call (818) 507-8525.