Hearings, Awards and Stipulations

Hearings

In Maryland, issues are filed and a hearing is set on the issues filed. Unlike Circuit Court or District Court, the hearings are informal in nature and the medical records are let in without the support of expert testimony. Other formal rules of evidence do apply. Only relevant witnesses are permitted to testify. There is a record of all proceedings in case there is an appeal filed.

In the District of Columbia, the Office of Workers Compensation accepts cases for filing, holds informal conferences, accepts stipulations and settlements. The informal conferences are informal in nature and all proceedings are geared toward trying to find a mutual resolution. If the parties cannot resolve the matter a memorandum of informal conference will follow with the claims examiners recommendations. The recommendations are not binding on either party if timely appealed. The Administrative Hearings Division hears all formal hearings. The formal rules of evidence do apply but medical records are permitted into evidence if submitted properly. The parties must submit a joint prehearing statement and exhibits to the trial judge before their hearing.

Awards

In Maryland, after the parties attend a hearing on issues filed at the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission, an award of Compensation will be issued. The awards must be issued within 30 days of the date of the hearing although they frequently come in a matter of days or weeks. The issues on the awards could range from medical treatment to lost wages to vocational rehabilitation to permanent disability. Awards that involve payment of money must be paid by the employer's insurer or other proper party within 15 days after an award is made or penalties may be due. If a party filed an appeal to an award of compensation, it is not a stay to an order that requires payment of compensation or medical treatment. Parties to an appeal cannot add a new issue to be resolved if it was already addressed by the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission in the order on appeal.

In the District of Columbia, after a compensation order or award is issued, payment must be made within 10 days or penalties may be attached to the award. A Compensation order follows a formal hearing at the Administrative Hearings Division.

Stipulations

In Maryland and in the District of Columbia, the parties may agree to stipulate to one or more of the issues that were previously raised in this case. The stipulations can vary from the agreed upon amount of permanent impairment or the average weekly wage. Usually, in a stipulation each side is coming to a compromise of some sort so they know exactly what benefits will be obtained.

In the District of Columbia, when a stipulation is submitted to the Office of Workers Compensation, an award will follow which will be payable as listed above. The same holds true in Maryland,

The parties to a case should always try and work out as many stipulations as possible to narrow the issues being tried at the Maryland Workers Compensation Commission, Office of Workers Compensation or Administrative Hearings Division. This is done so that all parties have an understanding on what must be presented in terms of evidence.

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