You will be presumed liable unless you can prove your injured worker is lying or exaggerating, and the evidence you need in hard to produce. Cases are regularly established even when the accident was unwitnessed, the initial hospital records are not produced (or are suppressed), or the description of the accident makes no sense. One employer lost a challenge to its case because the judge swore he had been in an elevator that fell, despite statistical evidence that the last time an elevator did a freefall was long before that judge was born.
You will be expected to testify at trial regarding your relationship with the claimant. For example:
- How did you meet?
- When did he or she first work for you?
- What were his or her duties?
- How much was he or she paid?
If you have not yet produced payroll records, a job description and other records, plan to share them at trial.
If you witnessed the accident, you will be asked very specific questions about the events leading up to it, such as:
- How far away were you from the claimant?
- Did you observe physical limitations (e.g., limping, unconsciousness, holding the injured body part close to him)?
- Was she bleeding or bruised?
- Did he say anything to you about what happened?
- What did he say?
If you know about hobbies, personal issues, or other matters that might directly relate to the case, your attorney will decide whether or not to disclose it and how to best use it to help you.
NOTE: This post is a general overview of a workers compensation trial. It is not legal advice, and there is certainly no guarantee that any of the actions detailed above will generate a similar or specific result. Past success is never a guarantee of a future outcome. If you require information or advice applied to your unique situation, please contact an attorney.
Nance L. Schick, Esq. is a New York City attorney and mediator who focuses on keeping people out of court and building their conflict resolution skills, especially in business and employment disputes. Her holistic, integrative approach to conflict resolution draws from her experience as a crime victim, human resources supervisor, minor league sports agent, and United Nations representative. She is a 2001 graduate of the State University of New York Buffalo Law School trained in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and International Center for Ethno-Religious Mediation (ICERM). She is also creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution: Seven Choices and Five Actions of a Master, and an award-winning entrepreneur, who has been acknowledged by the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards), and Urban Rebound NY/Count Me In (Finalist, 2013 Pitch Competition).