If you were injured at work, you could file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, which will cover your medical care costs and lost income throughout your recovery. Obtaining these benefits involves a complex application process, as you might have to identify witnesses who can testify in your favor. They can provide valuable details that give clarity for you and for the workers’ comp insurer.
A workers’ comp lawyer will explain what you should know about the importance of witnesses in building an effective claim. They can locate and interview supporting witnesses so you can focus on getting better. Attorneys may also be beneficial if you are filing an appeal for a denied claim.
Understanding the Role of Witnesses in Workers Comp Cases
Like any other insurance company and adjuster, the workers’ comp adjuster will want objective data about the cause and outcome of your accident. Witnesses can provide the information they need and describe:
- Your accident from varying points of view
- Any readily apparent injuries
- First aid efforts and first responder efforts
- Your working conditions at the time
The workers’ comp lawyer who handles your case will further explain why coworkers and lay witnesses are important and then identify and consult with relevant subject matter and expert witnesses.
The Importance of Expert Witnesses in Your Workers’ Comp Claim
To receive benefits, you must prove your injury occurred at work and is debilitating enough to warrant more than three days of lost productivity.
In doing so, your lawyer will speak with experts who substantiate the cause and severity of your injury. An expert witness in a workers’ comp case might be:
- Your healthcare team and other medical experts
- Accident reconstruction experts, when warranted
- Machinery and equipment experts
- OSHA regulation and compliance experts
- Occupation, vocation, and training experts
In some cases, financial experts can provide beneficial statements about your workers’ comp claim. Your lawyer will identify the expert workers’ compensation witnesses your case needs and prepare them to provide written or verbal testimony.
Additional Witnesses Your Lawyer May Interview for Your Claim
The role of witnesses in your workers’ comp claim depends on various factors, so your claim may benefit from more than expert witnesses. Additional witnesses your workers’ comp attorney may call on for testimony include:
- Coworkers who witnessed the accident
- First responders who provided emergency treatment
- Bystanders and other non-colleague witnesses
- Workplace managers and supervisors
- Customers and clients of your workplace
Your lawyer will not tax you with witness selection or evidence collection. Instead, they will do all the hard work of building your case, such as interviewing witnesses while their memories are still fresh.
What to Include in a Written Workers’ Comp Witness Statement
Whether you or others are presenting written testimony, it should include important details about your accident and injury. Your lawyer can help you provide this information and review written testimonials for errors. It should state:
- The date and time when your accident or injury occurred
- Information on when and how you notified your employer of your injury
- Dates and times of medical events, including surgery, physical therapy, etc.
- The toll your injuries have taken on your ability to perform work tasks
In some cases, your lawyer will supplement your written statement with those of medical experts. For example, if you suffer from a repetitive motion injury, it can be hard to pinpoint its exact start date. In that case, a doctor can give more insight into how you developed this injury.
Your lawyer will also help you prepare your written witness statement and include all vital information that supports your claim.
How a Lawyer Prepares Your Witnesses for Verbal Testimony
If your workers’ comp case goes to trial or appeal, you and other witnesses may have to provide verbal testimony before a judge. Testifying at a workers’ comp hearing can be stressful. Your lawyer will help you prepare beforehand so you can testify comfortably and succinctly. Your testimony should be:
- Short and to the point
- Honest and accurate
- Descriptive and vivid
Your lawyer will advise you to arrive early and dress neatly but comfortably, remind you of the rules of your state, and caution you against hearsay testimony or expounding on your answers and providing unrequested information.
Get Help Building a Solid Workers’ Comp Claim
If you were injured at work, our workers’ comp lawyer will build the strongest possible case for you. We will locate and interview lay and expert witnesses and explain what you and they should know about the claims process.
When you are ready to fight for the medical and financial benefits you need and deserve, we can help. Contact one of our KJT Law Group workers’ comp team members by dialing (818) 507-8525 today. This call is complimentary, and you don’t pay any fees unless we secure compensation for you.