Preparing for a Contested Case Hearing
An Ombudsman can assist you in preparing for a Benefit Contested Case Hearing and, if you prefer, may attend the proceeding with you.
If the parties are not able to resolve a dispute in a benefit review conference (BRC) the Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC) may schedule a contested case hearing (CCH) which is more formal than a benefit review conference (BRC). In addition, the outcome is far-reaching and sometimes permanent, depending on the results of a possible appeal.
The presiding officer (or judge) at the CCH is a hearing officer, a DWC employee who is also an attorney licensed to practice in Texas. The participants are essentially the same as those who attended the BRC, the injured worker, his or her representative or ombudsman, if any, the carrier's representative, possible additional witnesses and possibly the employer. At the CCH, the hearing officer will admit the parties' exhibits (evidence), swear in witnesses (including the injured employee), hear sworn testimony of witnesses and, after the conclusion of the CCH, make findings of fact, conclusions of law and enter decisions and orders. Any party not satisfied with the findings of fact, conclusions of law and decisions and orders of the hearing officer may ask DWC's appeals panel to review the decision with a request to reverse the decision that was entered.