An Informal Conference is a Non-Binding Mediation For Contested Workers Compensation Claims
In D.C. workers' compensation cases, one of the ways to get an issue decided is through an informal conference. Just like the name suggests, it's informal, with very few rules. You don't testify under oath and there is no record or transcript of the testimony. Witnesses are not generally allowed but you can submit medical reports and other documents to the claims examiner. It's more of a mediation than anything else and the decision is not binding.
Here's what that means - the recommendation that comes out of this conference is not binding on the parties. Either side can reject it and request a formal hearing (which requires testimony under oath, creates a record and can result in a Compensation Order).
Here at Donabhoe Kearney we usually advise not going to an informal conference if you are out of work due to your injury but the insurance company is contesting it. They are just going to reject the recommendation and proceed to a formal hearing. All you've done is delay your benefits by a couple of months to engage in this process and given the insurance company free discovery and more time to build their defenses. With our clients, we always proceed directly to a formal hearing.
Sometimes an informal conference is necessary: for example if you want to change physicians and the insurance company won't approve the change. But if you're not getting paid by the insurance company, it's just a waste of time and you'll need to go to a formal hearing so you can get a binding decision from a judge. But don't go it alone. You'll need an experienced workers compensation lawyer like Frank Kearney to win your benefits and keep your medical treatment authorized.
Get More Free Information Today About Your DC Workers Compensation Claim
You can learn more about formal heatings and many other critical topics in the signature book on workers' compensation, Protect Your Rights: The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers Compensation. You can order it online or call us at 202-393-3320 and we are happy to send you a free copy.
If you have questions about whether you should go to informal conference, give us a call at 202-393-3320 to speak with a real person today. We will take down your information for no cost and no obligation.