A hearing may be necessary to resolve a disputed claim. Most hearings are set after an employee, surviving spouse or dependent files a claim petition. This form can be obtained from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry. Hearings are scheduled at the Stassen Building in downtown St. Paul and throughout the state. Once a hearing date is set, all parties are notified in writing of the date, time and place of the hearing.
Any party may be represented by an attorney. However, a party is not required to have an attorney at the hearing. An attorney representing an injured worker is paid a contingent fee. This fee must be approved by a judge. Attorney fees for obtaining rehabilitation benefits or medical treatment will be paid by the employer and insurer if the contingent fee stated above is inadequate to reasonably pay the attorney for representation in the medical or rehabilitation dispute.
Formal hearings are held before a Workers’ Compensation Judge. The judge may request an opening statement by each party. Witnesses are sworn in before testifying. The parties have a right to present their own witnesses and cross-examine witnesses presented by other parties. Parties also may submit exhibits of documents and reports which they want included in the formal hearing record. Testimony from witnesses and information from exhibits will be considered by the Judge. Each party may present a final statement on the claim and defenses. All hearings are conducted on record by tape recorder or by court reporter. After the hearing the judge will issue a Findings and Order. This is the decision of the case. Hearings generally result in an order for payment of some or all of the claim or dismissal of the claim petition.
Any party has the right to appeal the order of the judge. If a party wishes to appeal, a notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of receipt of the order. The Workers’ Compensation Court of Appeals (WCCA) will review the hearing record. The WCCA can affirm, reverse, remand or modify the Judge's order. All parties will receive a copy of the WCCA decision. Any party may also appeal the WCCA decision to the Minnesota Supreme Court.