Workers’ Comp in the Digital Age
In 2018, the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board began rolling out its Virtual Hearing system. These virtual hearings allow all parties in a workers’ compensation claim—attorneys, claimants and witnesses alike—to participate remotely via their computers, tablets or phones. New York is the first state to have implemented such a system state-wide.
The system utilizes Cisco WebEx, and requires steady internet connection and a device with both camera and microphone capabilities. In 2019, the Board also released a virtual hearing mobile app. As of the time of this article, virtual hearings are available at all New York State Workers’ Compensation Board locations except Newburgh (this location will be added soon).
With some hearings lasting only several minutes, this virtual hearing option is especially helpful to eliminate claimant’s travel burden, especially if the claimant is still injured or ill at the time of the hearing.
However, while the virtual hearings may be useful in some cases such as inclement weather or travel-preventing injury, it is important to note that in-person contact between the claimant and his/her attorney is extremely important. Due to this, the attorneys of Gilbert, Blaszcyk & Milburn generally recommend that claimant’s attend all hearings possible. This ensures that the attorney can connect personally with the claimant, answer questions and explain the hearing.
We expect that the workers’ compensation system will continue to evolve and change with times and technology, bringing both advantages and disadvantages. As these changes come, our staff will continue to answer your questions and ensure you get the benefits you deserve.