The Office of Workers Compensation Claims Examiner Recommended I Have an Informal Conference. What is That?

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.

Here's the catch though - 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).

I 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.

I write about this subject and why I don't recommend informal conferences in my book on workers' compensation, Protect Your Rights:  The Ultimate Guide to D.C. Workers Compensation.

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.

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.