After a Claim or Petition is filed, the Alaska Workers Compensation Board will send a letter to all the parties notifying them that a prehearing has been scheduled. The purpose of the prehearing is to get everyone in the same room at the same time and make sure that they are all on the same page. The purpose of the prehearing is NOT to settle the case or for the Board to make a decision regarding the merits of the case. However if the Board designee (the prehearing officer) will make decisions regarding discovery issues, such as the propriety of releases.
The kinds of things that will be discussed can include: scheduling depositions, scheduling a hearing date for the Claim or Petition, scheduling an employer independent medical examination or a second independent medical evaluation, and the discovery issues.
After the prehearing, the Board designee will issue a Prehearing Conference Summary and mail it to all the parties. The summary will include notes about everything that was discussed, what was agreed upon, any decision the Designee makes and whether further hearings or prehearings have been scheduled. It is imperative that an unrepresented employee read the summary and understand it because there will also be information about deadlines and the statute of limitations.
Keenan Powell has more than 30 years experience fighting for the rights of injured Alaskans.
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