Sometimes we’re ahead of the curve.
With all the problems in the Workers’ Compensation system – and there are many – one of the good things about it is that hearings can be done virtually. That means that people do NOT have to go to court. Instead, they can attend court hearings through videoconference or even simply by telephone.
This keeps us nimble and efficient during emergencies. It lets us continue working when other courts can’t. It also respects the fact that injured workers sometimes have difficulty traveling to a hearing location due to their disability, or their financial circumstances. And it eases the tension of having to speak in front of a judge (which makes a lot of people nervous).
Although the Workers’ Compensation Board has been doing hearing virtually for awhile, the system is not yet perfect. Sometimes there are technical glitches. Other times people want to appear live in court, but the judge is in a remote location. And some people simply don’t have the technology or enough familiarity with it so that they can use it.
But for the most part, the system works.
Now let me tell you, we attorneys were very concerned about this. We worried about how the judges and clients would react to this system. We fretted over what would happen if we were in one hearing and the judge called the second one. We thought about how insurance companies, with all their vast financial resources, and how they might try to take advantage of the situation.
We just want to make sure that injured workers are treated fairly. But for the most part, things seem to be working, and most people like the convenience of appearing from home. I will say that it can be a little bizarre to see heads pop up and disappear on my computer screen, but as long as it gets justice for our clients a little faster, we don’t mind. Plus, I think this is the way of the future in many fields of law; it’s going be here, so we might as well get used to it.
Like I said, sometimes we’re ahead of the curve.
Other times, we’re just trying to keep our heads above water.