Michigan workers’ comp lawyer explains the purpose of a control date and why you should not worry about this court appearance.
Many of our clients get nervous when a control date in court has been scheduled. It is usually the first substantive court appearance after pre-trial. We tell our clients not to worry and explain that several control dates are needed before their case will be settled.
What is a control date in court?
A control date in court is a court hearing where both sides appear before the magistrate to discuss scheduling and legal issues. Attendance is generally not required if represented by a lawyer. It takes about five minutes, and no final decision will be made.
Below are some of the items that will be accomplished during this first substantive court appearance after pre-trial. Please remember that every case is unique, and it is best to speak with an experienced workers’ comp lawyer about your own situation.
Exchange of medical and employment records
Workers’ comp cases typically involve a dispute about medical causation and disability. Did a workplace accident cause a current medical problem? Is the employee disabled from working? These important questions must be resolved through medical and vocational evidence.
Medical records are frequent exchanged at the control date in court. The insurance company must provide all medical records in its possession including the independent medical examination (IME). Wage and employment records should also be provided by the employer or its attorney. The Work History, Work Qualifications & Training Disclosure Questionnaire (Form WC-105A) and Employer Disclosure Questionnaire (Form WC-105B) should be exchanged.
Provide a status update to the magistrate
Attorneys are expected to give the magistrate an update. It is common to have a scheduling order that sets deadlines for joining parties, exchanging medical, providing documents, setting up IMEs, taking depositions, and facilitation. The magistrate will want to know where the parties stand with these items.
The control date court appearance after pre-trial gives both sides the chance to discuss scheduling and legal issues with the magistrate. It is not uncommon to have a 6 or more of these meetings before a case is set for trial. They typically occur every 45-60 days. Do not worry if not much happens in the beginning stage of the case.
Workers’ comp cases are resolved in several different ways. The insurance company might decide to pay benefits on a voluntary basis. It is also likely that a lump sum cash payment will be offered for settlement. Trial is the last and final option.
This first substantive court appearance after pre-trial allows both sides the opportunity to discuss resolution without making any firm commitments. It may be discovered that the insurance company has surveillance video of activities. The employer might also decide to offer a job within restrictions. Information provided will give your lawyer an idea about settlement value and best course of action.
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